Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed Monday to put Japan at the forefront of global affairs in a "tense" 2024 that will see several important events, including the U.S. presidential election.

In his New Year's address, Kishida, who puts intense focus on diplomacy with other world leaders, said he will exert leadership "unique to Japan" through summit diplomacy to "overcome challenges," citing issues such as Russia's war on Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas conflict.

"We will decisively protect the people's safety and Japan's territory, water and airspace in the complicated security environment in East Asia," said Kishida, who served as foreign minister and defense minister before becoming prime minister in October 2021.