"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, 2023
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

Happy new year to everyone. I am Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio.

With the great outbreak of the Omicron strain of COVID-19, Russian aggression against Ukraine, soaring prices resulting from the energy crisis and the rapidly progressing weakening of the value of the yen, and moreover, the incident in which former Prime Minister Abe was shot, last year was truly a year of turbulence, with history-making events occurring one after another.

Why have such events continued to transpire? I believe it is because our world is currently approaching a historic fork in the road, for both our economies and the international order.

Here at a major turning point for our time, I am determined for us not to stand frozen in place; instead, we must create a Japan suited to the new era and overcome this challenging era by changing ourselves through everyone's efforts.

In order to do so, we must confront head on the many difficult issues post-war Japan faced that have built up over the years and remain with us today—issues that we simply cannot postpone until later. We must devise solutions to these issues, resolving one and then another. I will continue to run my administration committed to doing exactly that.

The New Form of Capitalism that I have been advocating is an attempt to create a sustainable, inclusive, new economic model. Under that model, we will transform social issues into engines for growth, thereby realizing the resolution of social issues simultaneously with economic growth. Once again this year, the public and private sectors will work in partnership to concentrate Japan's human and financial resources heavily into green, digital, startup, innovation, and other fields, pressing forward with bold investments and reforms.

Turning our eyes to the rest of the world, we find ourselves now facing what can be called the most severe security environment of the post-war era, with of course Russian aggression against Ukraine and also the increased threat surrounding nuclear weapons and divisions within the international community, among other challenges.

Against that backdrop, this year Japan will host the Hiroshima Summit under our presidency of the G7. We will also serve as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. I intend to display our strong will to firmly reject unilateral changes to the status quo by force and nuclear threats, in a way appropriate for the weight this carries historically.

Based on the National Security Strategy decided last year, we will build up Japan's own diplomatic efforts further and also do our utmost to reinforce our defense capabilities that back them up. I will resolutely carry out my mission as prime minister to fully defend the Japanese state and the Japanese people.

And, this year we will work to reform our Social Security System Oriented to All Generations. We have been working on measures to address the declining birthrate and policies related to children. In my view, the major issue of whether or not we can maintain our society as a whole is a question Japan cannot put off dealing with, and it absolutely imperative for us to face up to this matter responsibly.

Last year we laid the foundations for overcoming COVID-19, for achieving robust revitalization in the Japanese economy, and for assertively building a new international order. We will set the various measures we prepared last year into motion, actually putting into operation our initiatives designed to reinforce our defense capabilities, promote a New Form of Capitalism, achieve green transformation (GX), and pursue realism diplomacy for a new era. That is how the year 2023 will be positioned.

Throughout history, Japan has repeatedly confronted significant difficulties that should truly be called national crises. But each time, the Japanese people have acted in unity, overcoming all manner of crises by transforming their country.

I firmly believe that we will be able to overcome the difficulties we now face without fail by all of us pressing forward together. Let us work together to carve out a bright future for Japan and hand down to future generations a Japan characterized by spiritual abundance.

In closing, I extend my heartfelt wishes for 2023 to be a marvelous year full of joy and prosperity for all of you.


Prime Minister of Japan

January 1, 2023