The world in 2016 saw many events signaling the rise of protectionism and populism, ranging from Brexit to Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential election and people's fear of job loss due to immigrants and artificial intelligence (AI) development.

An executive of the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, which hosts the annual Davos meeting of corporate, government, academic and civil leaders in Davos, Switzerland, believes that in such uncertain times, global leaders need to come together to tackle newly emerging issues and Japan can take initiative in showing how to solve these problems.

"We're not trying to solve yesterday's problems. We should acknowledge that there are new problems on the horizon," WEF managing board member Lee Howell said in a recent interview in Tokyo. "It requires engagement of the public sector, private sector and civil society."