A regular staple for New Year’s in Japan are the predictions made by the nation's mainstream media. Traditionally, the editorials of major dailies on New Year's Day are usually sanguine about the future. This year is no exception.

What was notable this time, though, is that while conservative papers focused on the pandemic and the economy, liberal dailies, on the contrary, were more political. The Asahi Shimbun editorial board wrote “At the dawn of the 75th year of the Constitution: Protecting human rights in an ocean of data,” while the Mainichi’s headline was “Rebirth '22: Testing the power of linkage between democratic politics and civil society.”

As usual, these editorials, whether liberal or conservative, carefully avoided taking risks when making their forecasts, perhaps because New Year’s Day in Japan is considered the happiest time of the year and nobody wants to run the chance of making misleading predictions.