Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his resolve Friday for Japan to play a leading role globally in the "challenging" year of 2016, as the country plans to host a Group of Seven summit in May, a trilateral summit with China and South Korea and return to the U.N. Security Council as a nonpermanent member.

"This year will be one in which Japan will shine on the global stage and demonstrate its leadership," Abe said in a New Year's address.

A Japanese-led Africa development conference called the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD, is also set to be held in 2016.