Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday declared 2020 a "crucial year to establish a new era of Japanese diplomacy" in a speech before the Diet, vowing to tackle international issues head-on.

During the address kicking off the 150-day session, however, Abe made no mention of mounting scandals surrounding his administration: the resignations of two ministers over alleged campaign finance law violations, the arrest of a Diet member responsible for developing the government's policy for so-called integrated resorts featuring casinos, and allegations of cronyism and favoritism concerning a taxpayer-funded cherry blossom party.

Opposition parties will surely be challenging the administration over issues of accountability. And because of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the July 5 Tokyo gubernatorial election, extending the Diet session will likely be difficult, meaning Abe's Liberal Democratic Party will face a tight schedule for passing legislation.