“I think the public gave it the very pretty name Charlotte, and I don’t think there is any problem with it, so we’ll go with Charlotte,” Oita Mayor Kiichiro Sato said, according to AFP.
The Associated Press reported that city officials are sticking to Charlotte “because there was no protest from Britain’s royal family.”
“We have decided to respect the feelings of the people who voted for the name to congratulate the birth of the princess,” city spokesman Kazuyuki Adachi said, according to the AP.
The baby macaque was born Wednesday and named Charlotte after the newest member of the British royal family, the daughter of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. It’s the first monkey born at the zoo this year, and the facility has a tradition of letting the public name each year’s first-born macaque.
According to the AP, “Charlotte” was the name of choice in a public poll run by the zoo. So, “Charlotte” obviously has its supporters.
But others called and e-mailed the zoo with angry messages, asserting that Charlotte the baby monkey was an insult to Charlotte the baby human princess.
The zoo issued an apology on Thursday, according to the AP:
“We deeply apologize for causing trouble to many people over the naming of the first baby (monkey),” said a statement posted on the zoo website. “We take these opinions seriously.”
Zoo officials said they will reconsider the choice of name — and possibly select a new one for the newborn. They will also consult the British embassy in Japan over the choice, according to the Kyodo news agency.
Japanese society places great emphasis on not offending anybody in an effort to maintain wa or harmony. This frequently results in the kind of decision-making paralysis — two days of debate — witnessed there.
[This post, originally published on May 7, has been updated.]