Via The Japan Times:
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The government on Tuesday updated the list of kanji designated for everyday use for the first time in 29 years, deleting five and adding 196, including difficult-to-write characters that have become easier to use with computers.
The new total is 2,136
In the postwar period, the list was first compiled in 1946, when 1,850 kanji were approved for common use. It was revised in 1981 to 1,945 characters.
In line with the new list announced by the Cabinet Office, the Justice Ministry revised a ministerial order to reflect the changes in its list of kanji that can be used for people’s names
The education ministry revised its curriculum guidelines to ensure that junior high school students can read most of the new characters.
Government documents will be written in accordance with the new list.
The reform reflects that the widespread use of personal computers and mobile phones has generally made it easier for people to write kanji.