The opportunity for emerging political figures to make their mark is considerable.
Here are five political leaders from around the world who are emerging as significant talents and possible contenders for influence in 2017 and beyond.
The film is a powerful reworking of the novel by Japanese novelist Endō Shūsaku.
US Department of the Interior via Wikimedia Commons
The idea of an American Muslim registry has gained traction in some circles, but the historical precedents are shaky at best.
Peace on parade.
Combat could be on the cards for the first time in over 70 years.
While Marise Payne participated in Tuesday’s cabinet meeting by telephone, she is not well enough to travel to Japan.
The Australia-Japan foreign and defence ministers' 'two-plus-two' talks, due to be held in Japan before Christmas, are being deferred because of Marise Payne's recent illness.
The centenary of Natsume Soseki’s death this year is being marked by numerous events, not least his resurrection in robotic form.
Shin'ya Tsukamoto (right) and Andrew Garfield in Silence (2016).
Cappa Defina Productions
Martin Scorsese's new film Silence will be shown to an audience of priests at the Vatican today. It tells the story of persecuted Christians in 17th century Japan - an event still remembered by Nagasaki's Catholic community.
A fishing boat washed inland by the 2011 Tsunami next to a shrine inside the Fukushima nuclear exclusion zone.
Those communities affected by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident are having their resilience tested once again.
Musubizm at J Pop Summit; a masterclass in cute.
youngelectricpop via Flickr
From Hello Kitty and 'Lolita' fashion to Pokemon Go, millions of adults are seeking an endless childhood.
The idea is to come up with better alternatives to this.
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
Japan's fleet is on its way to the Southern Ocean for more "scientific" whaling. But a new resolution pointing out the importance of whale poo could help remove Japan's rationale for lethal research.
The Fukushima Daini plant, 11km from the ill-fated Daiichi station, suffered a technical problem in one of its spent fuel cooling ponds.
The latest earthquake off Japan's east coast was an ominous reminder of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. But despite a technical hitch at one of Fukushima's other reactors, there was no repeat this time.
The appointment of three women to politically powerful roles is symbolically significant for Japanese women.
Even though three women have recently been appointed to powerful positions in Japanese politics, gender parity in the country is a long way off.
Japan’s previous scientific whaling program was shut down. But its new one may not be.
EPA/Tim Watters/Sea Shepherd Australia
Australia's new resolution will apply stricter monitoring to the special permits that allow some nations to continue whaling. But the new rules are non-binding, meaning countries are free to ignore them.
The ascendency of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines is just one of the shifts away from liberalism in southeast Asia.
Reuters/Lean Daval Jr
Shifts in southeast Asian countries' political leadership has led to another worrying region-wide shift: away from liberalism.
So I’m going on a big adventure … right?
Could you trade your baby robot in for an upgrade?
A ceramic vase repaired by Guy Keulemans using photoluminescent pigment.
We tend to throw away broken things, but the Japanese art of kintsugi – repairing broken ceramics with gold and silver – can give us a different perspective on waste.
Roman coins were discovered in Katsuren castle in Uruma, Okinawa, southwestern Japan.
EPA/Uruma City Education Board
Is this evidence that Rome traded with Japan? Almost certainly not.
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda has been trying various expansionary monetary policies to get the Japanese economy going.
The Bank of Japan is trying yet another measure to fight deflation but the economy shows no signs of responding.
Owen Humphreys / PA Wire
The road to Brexit looks long and winding, but it seems extremely unlikely that any outcome which threatens the long-term viability of foreign investment in the UK will be tenable.
Japan astounded the world with its economic performance for decades.
One thing became dramatically apparent in the economic sphere following the Cold War: capitalism was ubiquitous, but it looked very different in Japan, Germany, the US and China.