Taiwan may drop idiosyncratic Republican calendar

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sat, Feb 25, 2006 - Page 1

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday told lawmakers that the government will consider dropping the nation's Republican (minguo, 民國) calendar and make the Gregorian calendar the only official time system.

"I agree with the proposal and I think it's a practical idea," Su said in the legislature yesterday in response to questions from lawmakers.

He added that he would do his best to promote a changeover to the Gregorian system.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺), who proposed the change, said that using both the Republican and Gregorian calendars could be confusing, especially to foreigners.

If the proposal is adopted, the government would carefully plan how to implement the Gregorian calendar and amend laws and regulations, Su told Lin.

The Republic of China's Republican calendar was introduced in 1912, when the provisional legislature authorized a proposal to use the Republican and Gregorian calendars in tandem.

The Republican calendar has been blamed for creating confusion, especially in the case of expiry dates printed on perishable exports.

Su said that updating calendar and national language conventions are important aspects of internationalization. This was why the official right-to-left writing system was changed to left-to-right, he said.