With only two years left to cement his legacy, and hours after a major Cabinet reshuffle, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reaffirmed Wednesday evening his desire to pursue outstanding issues such as social welfare reform as well as paving the way for constitutional revision.

"Even in my seventh year as prime minister, I have not lost my appetite for challenges and change," Abe said in a speech at the Prime Minister's Office.

"As we stand at the start of the new Reiwa Era, we are on the cusp of creating a new Japan ... and on the horizon is the challenge of constitutional revision," he said. "Above all, there needs to be a stable political foundation in place — otherwise endeavors won't bear fruit."