Taiwanese allowed to one name change per year: Legislative Research Bureau

TAIPEI (The China Post) — More than 300 people in Taiwan changed their name to “salmon,” and then back, to get free sushi at a popular chain restaurant in March, resulting in a “salmon name-change chaos.”

Following this incident, the Legislative Research Bureau (立法院法制局) recently proposed to amend the “Name Act,” making the changing your name official ten days after a  request and limiting one’s name change per year.

The changes were requested as a way to remind the public of treasuring Taiwan’s administrative resources, the bureau said.

The bureau added that the people who changed their names to “salmon” were able to immediately change them back after their free lunch, which showed that they had no intention of changing their original names in the first place.

However, they took advantage of the relatively easy name-change process to obtain freebies. Compared with a neighboring country, Japan, it takes up to 2 to 7 weeks to complete the application for changing your name.

In order to make the public more cautious, the Legislative Research Bureau suggested that “after someone changes his or her name, it will only go into effect 10 days later, so as to increase thinking time and avoid regret.”

According to the Bureau, Taiwan’s “renaming procedures are not difficult” and people’s “psychological barriers to changing their names are not high.” As a result, about 100,000 people change their names every year.

However, the motivation of changing their names not only wastes time but also produces unnecessary paperwork, the Bureau said. People should cherish administrative resources and be rational, the Bureau added.