"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] New Year's Reflection by Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio

[Date] January 1, 2022
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional Translation
[Full text]

I wish a very happy new year to you all.

Since taking office as Prime Minister in October last year, I have been responding agilely and with a sense of speed to domestic and international affairs that evolve at a dizzying pace.

What I have undertaken as my utmost priority is responses to COVID-19. By pressing forward with vaccinations at a speed unparalleled the world over, in the latter half of 2021, the number of new cases of infection maintained a steady, low level for quite some time.

However, we are now again facing the threat of a new strain, Omicron, which is said to be extremely infectious.

We will respond on the basis of "assume the worst and proceed with great caution," the very essence of crisis management.

Leveraging the grace period we attained as a result of our border measures, the most stringent even among the G7 countries, we will further take the series of steps of prevention, testing, and early treatment and lower the risk of COVID-19 for society as a whole.

Whether it is having the medical treatment structures we have strengthened thus far operating at full force, accelerating the third vaccination dose schedule for healthcare workers and the elderly, conducting tests free of charge in communities concerned about the spread of infections, or using orally administered therapeutics widely, we will take necessary measures in an agile way.

The critical mission of politics includes providing support for the daily lives of those having a hard time because of COVID-19 and fully defending business continuity and employment. We will deliver to the public at the earliest possible date "economic measures to overcome COVID-19 and pioneer a new era," which we drew up last year.

Once we prevail in the fight against COVID-19 by engaging in efforts such as these, what we should strive for beyond that is the realization of a new form of capitalism, the linchpin for reviving the Japanese economy.

Disparities and poverty have expanded because of overreliance on markets; the issue of climate change has become more serious as too great a burden has been placed on the natural environment.

We will respond to negative effects of capitalism such as these and create a sustainable economy; we will counter powerful challenges emerging from the economic system that can also be called state capitalism and bring about growth which is more vigorous than any we have seen before.

This sort of awareness of the issues is held in common by a large number of developed countries, including the United States and countries in Europe.

Under a new form of capitalism, rather than leaving everything to the markets and competition, the important thing is for public and private sector entities to together play their roles, while sharing a common overarching vision for future economic and social reforms.

We will make digitalization, climate change, economic security, innovation and science and technology, and other social issues the engines of growth.

We will squarely tackle the issue of disparities and bring about distribution through wage increases initiated by companies as well as greater investments in people, which will lead to the next round of growth.

The new form of capitalism I am advocating is one that pursues economic sustainability by giving rise to a virtuous cycle of growth and distribution thanks to efforts such as these.

Turning our eyes overseas, in the context of international affairs that are rapidly becoming severe and complex, what are increasingly called for are the skillful steering of diplomacy and national security and the establishment of stable political administration. This year will be the year I embark upon summit diplomacy in earnest.

Steadfastly holding aloft the flag of ideals for the future, and keeping reality firmly in view, I will advance "realism diplomacy for a new era," taking as its three pillars the importance of universal values, efforts to resolve global challenges, and efforts to resolutely and fully defend the lives and livelihoods of the Japanese people.

Another major topic for 2022 will be constitutional reform, part of the Liberal Democratic Party's principles since the party was founded. We will deepen debates within the Diet and also stir national discussions.

Last year, I stated that I would conduct carefully-designed and humble politics while listening attentively to the voices of the people, and the public bestowed great confidence upon me.

This year again as I listen to the voices of many people, I am determined to make decisions faithfully and produce results, from the perspective of what is best for the Japanese people.

When doing so, mindful that it is for the sake of the people, I will place importance on the stance of responding in a flexible manner without being bound by precedent and without hesitation, even regarding courses of action I have already taken decisions on.

I ask sincerely for the understanding and cooperation of my fellow citizens.

In closing, I would like to extend my sincere wishes that this year will be a rewarding one for all of you.


Prime Minister of Japan

January 1, 2022