In 2021, a restaurant offered free meals to anyone named "salmon." Over 300 people ended up changing their names to take advantage. Legislators say people who frequently change their names are wasting resources, and have proposed amending the Name Act.
Last year, a sushi restaurant launched a promotion where anyone named "salmon" was entitled to a free meal. In just two days, 331 Taiwanese people changed their names to take advantage of the promotion, resulting in what was dubbed "salmon chaos." This incident made international headlines. It's easy to change a name in Taiwan, and 100,000 people do so every year. People are allowed to change their names up to three times. Legislators say people who change their names for short-term benefits and then change them back because it's so easy are wasting public resources. They have proposed amendments to make it harder to change names.
Cheng Li-wen, Legislator (KMT): “The objective of the proposed amendment is to prevent people from changing their names again within six months after a name change request is approved.”
Lin Ching-chi, Dir. , Dept of Household Registration: “We don't ask the reason, and people are allowed three name changes. This is something that we insist on. This may create difficulties for our colleagues. However, the proposal made today can be discussed. After a name is changed, can it immediately be changed back or something else? We think that there is room for discussion. ”
The Kuomintang's draft bill bars people from changing names again in the six months after a name change. The Democratic Progressive Party's draft bill bars people from changing names again in the three years after a name change. The Ministry of the Interior said it will respect the results of the legislature's discussion. There was also a proposal for a seven-day waiting period before a name change takes effect, but the MOI shot it down.
Hua Ching-chun, Deputy Interior Minister: “Our current system is for ID cards and household registrations to be changed immediately and go into effect, so that is of course our current method because we don't want to have a waiting period.”
Legislators said Japan makes it very difficult for people to change names, and asked if Taiwan's household registration offices have any examination mechanisms. The MOI responded that frontline colleagues offer advice but cannot prevent people from going ahead with name changes. The public is asked to be prudent.