A year of surprises has come to a close, but its unresolved questions will generate many more quakes in 2017. Where are the fault lines, what about President-elect Donald Trump, and what does all this mean for Japan?

The year 2016 will always be remembered as the year that voters in the U.K. and the U.S. shocked the world with demands to build new walls. In Britain, a majority voted to withdraw their country from the EU and to reclaim control of their country's borders following a surge of migrants from other EU countries in recent years. In the U.S., Hillary Clinton won the most votes, but Donald Trump won the election through the quirks of the U.S. electoral system. Much of Trump's support came from voters who agree that, as Trump repeatedly warned, if we don't retake control of our borders, "we won't have a country."

Turn the page to 2017 and the West faces critically important national elections in France and Germany that will be run on many of the same themes — migration, borders, threats to jobs and security and the intense drive of anxious voters to beat back challenges they believe are created by globalization and regain control of their lives.