2019 must be remembered in Japan as the year when the Heisei Era ended and the era of Reiwa started, but the buzzword of the year was definitely "One Team."
In the Rugby World Cup held here last fall, Japan beat powerful teams like Ireland and Scotland to advance to the final stage for the first time. In line with its "One Team" slogan, 31 players of the Japan team — including 15 from six other countries such as New Zealand, Tonga and South Africa, chosen by head coach Jamie Joseph — were united as they fought their way to the feverish cheer of men and women of all ages throughout the country. Not a few people must have seen in the team's excellent performance the path toward the future that Japan should take.
2019 was also a year that set in motion the government's measures toward intercultural cohesion. The revised immigration control law to start accepting foreign workers under a new visa program entered into force, and the Immigration Services Agency, tasked with supporting foreign residents and formation of a cohesive society along with immigration control, was set up as an external bureau of the Justice Ministry in April. A legislation to promote Japanese-language education for foreigners both here and overseas was also implemented in June.