New Year’s Reflection by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Thursday, January 1, 2015
I extend to you my very best wishes for a happy new year.
Two years have passed since I assumed the office of Prime Minister. During this time, I have dedicated my utmost efforts to taking on a range of important issues, including notably the revival of the Japanese economy as well as reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, rebuilding education, reforming social security, and putting our diplomacy and security back on the right footing. Moreover, I have also been tackling head on such new issues as vitalizing local regions and creating a society in which all women shine.
Through the recent general election, I came to continue to shoulder the weighty responsibility of being Prime Minister with the strong support of the public.
All of the reforms I am pursuing are the most drastic reforms since the end of World War II, with very challenging roads ahead. However, having garnered the great power of the confidence of the people, this year I will push ahead with reforms even more boldly and with an even greater sense of speed. I intend to make this “a year to carry out reforms,” with my eyes fixed firmly on the future of Japan.
During the election campaign, I traveled all throughout the country and had the opportunity to listen directly to the voices of people living in our local regions, people working at small- and medium-sized enterprises and micro enterprises, and many others. I intend to develop Abenomics still further by responding assiduously to this variety of sentiments.
We will decisively execute our Growth Strategy, carrying out economic countermeasures at an early time. This year we will once again make the economy the foremost priority as we undertake political administration, delivering the warm winds of economic recovery to every corner of the nation.
This year we mark the milestone of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Throughout its post-war history, Japan has, based on feelings of deep remorse regarding World War II, walked the path of a free and democratic nation and of a consistently peace-loving nation, while contributing to global peace and prosperity. As we reflect on the past, in heading towards the 80th, 90th, and 100th anniversaries to come, what kind of nation will Japan be and what kinds of contributions will we make to the world?
Taking this opportunity, I wish to make this a year in which we send out to the world a message about the kind of country we aim to be and get off to a dynamic start towards building a “new Japan.”
Uesugi Yozan once said, “You can make it happen if only you try.” This was often quoted by Mr. Hirofumi Daimatsu, the coach who led the Japanese women’s volleyball team, dubbed “the witches of the Orient” for their “magical” ability on the floor, to the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. He also used it as the title of a book, which became a tremendously popular best seller half a century ago.
The Japanese people had resolutely risen to their feet from a devastated land after the war. This was the era in which Japan, having successfully concluded the Tokyo Olympics, was beginning to regain its confidence that it could play an active role on the world’s center stage. There is no doubt that these words of Coach Daimatsu, filled with determination, greatly inspired the Japanese people of that era.
Our predecessors accomplished rapid economic growth, making Japan one of the greatest powers in the world. There is no reason whatsoever that the Japanese of that era could achieve this but the Japanese of today cannot.
Now, as we mark the new year, I have renewed my determination to, together with the Japanese people, make Japan a country that once again shines on the world’s center stage.
In closing, I ask for the public’s further understanding and support, and I extend my heartfelt wishes that this year is a splendid one that bears much fruit for each and every one of you.
Prime Minister of Japan