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Japan to Mint new Commemoratives
By CoinLink

The Japanese government is creating 94 types of commemorative 500 and 1,000 yen coins, including special coins for each prefecture. The designs for Kyoto and Shimane (pictured) were announced by Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga.

The 1,000-yen coins for Kyoto and Shimane will be sterling silver, weigh 31.1 grams and measure 40 millimeters in diameter. The government will mint a total of 100,000 of each coin.

The Kyoto coin features a scene from the classic work penned by Murasaki Shikibu (Lady Murasaki), depicting romances among members of the court in medieval Kyoto.

It will be issued before the millennial anniversary Nov. 1 of the Tale of Genji, which first appeared in recorded history in 1008.

The Shimane coin will be minted to celebrate the addition last year of the centuries-old Iwami silver mine to the World Heritage List of the U.N. Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The reverse side of the coins will have a uniform design for all 47 prefectures, featuring snow crystals, cherry blossoms and a crescent moon.

These will be among 94 types of 500- and 1000-yen coins for each of Japan’s 47 prefectures that will be released over the next eight years to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the going into force of the Local Autonomy Law, according to the Finance Ministry.

The government decided on the design of the two coins after releasing the Hokkaido coin in time for this year’s July 7-9 Group of Eight summit to be held in the Lake Toya resort area there.

The ministry said Japan will issue coins for Niigata and Nagano prefectures in the first half of fiscal 2009 to commemorate Japanese crested ibises on Sado Island and the Zenkoji Buddhist temple in Nagano City. Both the ibises and the temple are recognized as national treasures.

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