Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to stay in his job and press ahead with his reform agenda as parliament opened Monday with the ruling party under mounting pressure after a raft of scandals.
"I am well aware that there is a view that I should step down," Abe told lawmakers.
But he said he intended to stay in office to help Japan to modernise so as to cope with challenges such as an ageing population, the growing pressures of globalisation and an increased security threat.
"We need to depart from the postwar regime by all means. I decided to stay on out of my sheer belief that we must not stop this reform," he said.
"I want to fulfill my responsibility for the people by carrying out reforms," he said.
Japanese parliament reopened Monday with Abe under mounting pressure after a raft of scandals and a heavy defeat in July elections that handed the opposition control of the upper house of parliament.
On the eve of the two-month extraordinary session of the Diet, Abe said he could resign if his government fails to win an extension of the mandate for Japan's mission to refuel jets operating in Afghanistan.
The opposition is against the mission, but the United States has warned that pulling out would damage relations between the long-standing allies.
Abe told lawmakers that Japan must not abandon its "international responsibility" by withdrawing support to US-led forces in Afghanistan.