Connect with us

Politics & Security

[Tokyo Outlook] In 2024, May a Stronger Japan Soar Above the Crises

Amid New Year tragedies and political turmoil, we believe that Japan has the strength to transform trials into stepping stones toward greater heights in 2024.



"Sho" (soar) is the 2024 New Year kanji chosen by Shoko Kanazawa. (Image adapted from: Photo by ©Sankei by Koki Uemura)

What a way to start the new year. The news of the Noto Peninsula earthquake on New Year's Day of 2024 sent shockwaves through Japan. It was reported globally as an unprecedented "New Year earthquake."

But it didn't end there. On January 2, a tragic airplane accident occurred at Haneda Airport. A Japan Coast Guard aircraft carrying earthquake relief supplies collided with a Japan Airlines plane on the runway, bursting into flames. All passengers and crew members of the JAL plane miraculously evacuated to safety — the silver lining in an otherwise disastrous situation.

Adding insult to injury is a political funds scandal that has swept over the ruling party, precisely when Japan requires cohesive leadership. It has even led to the arrest of a sitting Diet member, leaving the Fumio Kishida administration in a precarious situation.

Rescue workers search for a missing person at the site of a landslide covered in snow on January 12. In Ichinose-cho, Wajima City, Ishikawa Prefecture. (©Sankei by Masamichi Kirihara)

Predicting the Future

In the midst of these turbulent times, JAPAN Forward has been publishing various predictions for 2024. The first installment, penned by Washington correspondent and special advisor to JAPAN Forward, Yoshihisa Komori, was released on New Year's Day.

Komori identifies five international trends in his analysis:

  1. Retreat of US deterrence
  2. Expanding role of military power
  3. Retreat of globalization
  4. Greater stress on the sovereignty of independent states
  5. Collapse of the "Supremacy of Economics"

He predicts a challenging time ahead for Japan, asserting that these factors will "threaten to shake, challenge, and even negate the very nature of Japan's postwar state."

Predictions Both Good and Bad

Here are some notable political predictions by our authors, who come from various nationalities and backgrounds: 

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, India, on September 9. (©Kyodo)

Other predictions were about possible developments in culture and technology:

Whether these predictions come true or not, it's all part of the speculation game. Take a look at our list of predictions to see if you agree with any of them. 

Kimono influencer Sheila Cliffe in a Christmas-themed kimono. (©Sheila Cliffe)

In 2023, the article that garnered the highest readership on JAPAN Forward was Komori's article "Expert on China's PLA Says It's Mulling First Strike on Bases in Japan," published on May 7. Additionally, many of our predictions also examined China's recent movements, underscoring our readership's keen interest in this geopolitical focus.

Will Japan Rise Above Its Problems?

Bringing hope to the start of 2024 was the New Year Kanji chosen by popular calligrapher Shoko Kanazawa. The kanji she chose was "翔" (sho), which means "soar" or "fly high in the sky." 

The character forms part of the name of baseball player Shohei Ohtani, who signed a record-breaking contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Perhaps "sho" will become the most attention-grabbing kanji of 2024.

As Japan faces what could be described as a national crisis, it also presents an opportunity for change. This should be viewed as a chance for Japan to ascend to greater heights as if propelled by the symbolism of the New Year kanji. JAPAN Forward believes in the untapped potential of the Japanese people. We aim to continue sharing Japan's transformative journey and soaring spirit with the world in 2024.

Shoko Kanazawa presents the New Year kanji. (Photo: ©Sankei by Koki Uemura)

Watch for the next issue on February 12.

JAPAN Forward is now in its seventh year. Join us as we continue to share the true face of Japan with the world. For inquiries, please call 0570-033-433 (Sankei iD) or email us at info@japan-forward.com.



(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: Yasuo Naito, Editor in Chief, JAPAN Forward

Our Partners