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The late Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau (1919-2000) once described living next door to the U.S. as akin to “sleeping with an elephant”: “No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast,” he observed, “one is affected by every twitch and grunt.”

Some Japanese no doubt regard China, their giant neighbor to the west, in a similar vein, only perhaps as a dragon rather than an elephant.

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