Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he is committed to promoting local economies across the nation, and reforming the country's social security systems. Abe says he is resolved to continue to steer the country during the new Reiwa era which started last month when the new Emperor acceded the throne.
Abe made the remarks in his address to the nation as the ordinary session of the Diet came to a close.
The prime minister said, "Society is rapidly aging and shrinking, and the international situation is undergoing turbulent changes. We should not turn our eyes away from these issues and must lay down the path for Japan in the new era. We have that grave responsibility."
"During the past 30 years, during the Heisei era, such issues were long left untouched by lawmakers that could not decide, and politics that were unstable. Our country's Prime Minister changed almost every year."
"In the upcoming Upper House election, the biggest issue is whether we can push forward the reform toward the new age under stable politics or whether we will slip back to an age of confusion."
"What does Japan aspire to be in the age of Reiwa? The vision is to be set by the Constitution. However, unfortunately in the past year, the deliberative council on the Constitution in the Diet met only two hours at the Lower House and only three minutes at the Upper House. Is this really the right thing to do, not even to talk about it? I want to ask the people to make the decision on this."
The prime minister also highlighted Japan's position on the world stage, ahead of this week's G20 summit and other major events.
He said, " In autumn, Japan will be hosting the Rugby World Cup for the first time. And when the new year starts, we will count down to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. In 2025, Osaka will be hosting the World Expo, too. The future is wide open and bright for Japan in the Reiwa Era. We should seize this opportunity to build a firm foundation for our country. That's my resolution."
"On June 28, US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and other world leaders will all gather in Japan for their first Group of 20 summit meeting. In the first year of the Reiwa era, Japan will be exercising its leadership among the world's leaders to solve various challenges we all face. I am determined to fulfill the responsibility of the chair so that this will be a summit meeting that elevates the post-war Japanese diplomacy to a new dimension."
Japanese political parties are now focused on the Upper House election, which will be held on July 21. Official campaigning will start next Thursday. Voters will decide on half of the chamber's seats.
Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito will stand against opposition parties looking to reduce the former's dominance in the Diet.