• Kyodo


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday pledged to promote reforms in Japan, ranging from social security to the Constitution, while expressing his hope the country will successfully host the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics later this summer.

“Now we have dynamism toward the future and therefore we should powerfully press for building a nation for a new era,” Abe said in his New Year’s statement.

Remembering he saw the last Tokyo Olympics in 1964 at the age of 10, he said, “I hope (this year’s games) will also be a wonderful event that will excite children and let them have dreams for the future.”

On policy issues, Abe said he “will go ahead with major reforms that will shape our country. And beyond that, I see a constitutional revision.”

Last year Abe became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister. His current term as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is due to end in September 2021.

But his long-held goal of amending the pacifist Constitution remains far off, with opposition parties criticizing him for rushing to get debate going in the Diet.

On social security, the government has been forced to increase its budget every year to cover the nation’s aging population. It raised the consumption tax rate to 10 percent from 8 percent in October to secure funds for enhanced child care support and other welfare programs.

“I will aim to create a social security system that can help people live without worries,” he said.

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