Japan's new era needs an optimistic new model

The success or failure of efforts to inject new dynamism into the nation will affect the world

"A Japan where every person can have hope for tomorrow" sounds like a fairly modest aspiration. But that was the wish that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed for the new Reiwa imperial era, which will begin on May 1, when Crown Prince Naruhito ascends the imperial throne.

For Mr Abe, awakening a sense of optimism is part of a broader mission of national reinvigoration, in which symbolic moments like crowning a new emperor play an important part.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2019, with the headline 'Japan's new era needs an optimistic new model'. Print Edition | Subscribe