2020 was a year full of things no one predicted for Japan: a global pandemic, a postponed Tokyo Olympics and a prime ministerial resignation, to name a few. While many will be sighing in relief at the prospect of a new year, the roller coaster ride for Japanese politics is not over. 2021 will still be a year to watch as we could yet again see a change in administration.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's power atop the government is not assured, and with some significant elections scheduled, domestic politics could once again shake things up at the top. That of course has important and far-reaching implications both for Japan and its partners — so it will be important to observe a few things in particular this coming year.

The COVID-19 effect