TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday that 2018 will be a year to act and address the challenges facing his country, while ensuring the peaceful life of the Japanese.
“My administration will aggressively push forward reform measures to build a new nation, keeping our eyes fixed on the future, to 2020 and beyond,” Abe said in his New Year statement, according state broadcaster NHK.
Abe’s mandate at the head of the Liberal Democratic Party will conclude in September 2018, but it is expected that the conservative politician will manage to prolong it, as the party’s internal reform in 2017 would enable him to govern until 2021, making him the longest-serving Japanese premier.
“This year will be a time to act,” Abe said in a message in which he spoke of the need to tackle the low birth rate as well as the rapidly aging population through the reforms approved at the end of the year, one of his main electoral promises in the 2017 elections.
Abe also said that his government will ensure the peaceful life of the Japanese under any circumstances, according to the message broadcast by NHK, in which he vaguely referred to tensions in the region in the face of Pyongyang’s weapons programs.
North Korea conducted around 20 missile tests and a nuclear test in 2017 and achieved several milestones, including the launch of its first intercontinental missile, capable of reaching the United States.
Among Abe’s pending aspirations is the reform of Japan’s pacifist constitution, allowing its troops to be more active abroad.