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In an interview with The Washington Post in November, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the U.S.-Japan alliance “the cornerstone of Japanese diplomacy,” a stance supported by the U.S. State Department, whose website asserts, “Japan contributes irreplaceable political, financial and moral support to U.S.-Japan diplomatic efforts.”

However, such official comments on Tokyo-Washington ties are misleading, believes Sayo Saruta, the director of Japanese think tank New Diplomacy Initiative.

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