By far the most important relationship to the United States in the Asia-Pacific region is that with Japan, and Washington hopes to strengthen these ties, a former deputy secretary of defense said.

John Hamre, now president and CEO of the Center for Strategic International Studies in Washington, said that while U.S. President George W. Bush has in substance a similar approach to Japan and Asia as his predecessor, Bill Clinton, he is much more straightforward in expressing a desire to maintain close security ties with Japan.

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