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Thomas Schieffer, the new U.S. ambassador to Japan, met Monday with Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi and the pair confirmed the importance of their countries maintaining bilateral ties, Foreign Ministry officials said.

Yachi was quoted as telling Schieffer that bilateral ties have been “in really good condition” due to the close personal relationship between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and U.S. President George W. Bush.

Schieffer arrived in Japan on Friday after assuming his post April 1. It was the first meeting between the new ambassador and a top Foreign Ministry official.

Yachi, the top bureaucrat at the ministry, told Schieffer he was looking forward to seeing the close ties maintained.

Schieffer echoed Yachi’s view and said U.S.-Japanese relations are very important to the whole world as well as the region surrounding Japan, the officials said.

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