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Words are often the strongest weapon in a politician’s armory, but the slightest slip of the tongue can turn into a huge liability, as evidenced by the number of occasions prime ministers and Cabinet members have been caught out in the last six years.

So perhaps it’s no wonder that Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, in an effort to tread carefully, has avoided informal “burasagari” (literally, “dangling”) interviews like the plague.

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