Happy new year!
The curtain has finally opened on the year of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games took place when I was 10 years old and I still have a vivid memory of watching them. The great achievements of the Japanese athletes, who held their own compared to physically larger foreign athletes, offered children hopes and dreams for the future.
“People can grow because they have a dream. Being able to nurture a dream is essential, whatever the era.” These are the words of Tokyo Olympic Games weightlifting gold medalist MIYAKE Yoshinobu.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games, which will return to Japan after half a century, will also enable children to foster dreams for the future. I want to make the Games into wonderful competitions that spark excitement in people.
Last year, we celebrated the first succession to the Imperial throne from a living Emperor in approximately 200 years and the new era of Reiwa began. After the Olympic and Paralympic Games, five years from now the Osaka-Kansai Expo will take place.
Our prospects for the future are now filled with positive dynamism. Now is the time to press forward vigorously with nation-building for a new era.
Preschool education has become free of charge for all children aged three to five. From this spring, we will begin making higher education free of charge for children truly in need. We will invest boldly in the future of children, who will shoulder the future.
The arrival of a 100-year life society is a major opportunity. We will push forward with work style reform and create a society in which all citizens are dynamically engaged, where each person is able to demonstrate his or her abilities, whether female or male, young or old, or a person with a disability or an intractable illness.
We will advance reforms to bring about a social security system in which all generations can enjoy peace of mind. Moreover, we will squarely take on Japan’s declining birthrate alongside an aging population, the greatest challenge we face.
We will resolutely defend Japan’s beautiful sea, territory, and territorial airspace. We will continuously review our security policies, never becoming trapped by conventional thinking. We will overcome the rough seas of the rapidly changing international situation and carve out new horizons for Japan’s diplomacy, taking a panoramic perspective of the world map.
Keeping an eye squarely on the future, we will advance major reforms associated with this nation’s vision. Beyond that lies constitutional amendment. Here, as we ring in the second year of Reiwa, I have renewed my determination to work towards nation-building for a new era.
I ask the public for their further understanding and support towards the Abe Cabinet. I also send my heartfelt wishes for 2020 to be a magnificent year that brings joy and prosperity to one and all.
Prime Minister of Japan
January 1, 2020