Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that 2018 will be a year to address the challenges facing his country, while ensuring a peaceful life for its citizens. In his New Year statement, Abe pledged that his administration would “aggressively push forward reform measures to build a new nation.” He also spoke of tackling the low birth rate and rapidly aging population through reforms approved at the end of 2017, but vaguely referred to regional tensions in the face of DPRK’s weapons programs.