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Barack Obama’s inauguration as the 44th U.S. president may have gotten a new era for Tokyo and Washington under way, but the Japanese government is unlikely to be given the luxury of taking the relationship slow and easy.

“President Obama will be tasked with making tangible achievements within at least the first year of his term” to ensure that his high approval rating is maintained, Fumiaki Kubo, a professor of political science at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School, said earlier this month at a forum in Tokyo. The expert on U.S. politics said that the key for Japan to maintain a healthy bilateral relationship depends on how Tokyo can dedicate itself and support the U.S. globally, including antiterrorism efforts in the Afghan region.

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