Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is shifting his focus to a sputtering economy as he seeks to burnish his legacy and shore up support ahead of an election in the summer.

Abe said Monday he expects to make progress on sweeping reforms he has promised but not yet delivered. He likens himself to the 18th century "Abarenbo Shogun," or "Rogue General" Tokugawa Yoshimune, a national leader renowned for his efforts to reduce waste, clean up corruption and instill samurai values of discipline and leadership.

Until July, Abe's focus is bound to be on ensuring victory in the election for the Upper House of parliament in July.

Japan's slow economic recovery is prompting him to highlight more obvious progress on the diplomatic front.