Japan cuts the world down to size. Thumb through the popular weekly news magazines to get the idea. The weeklies pride themselves on broader, bolder, feistier coverage than the daily press typically musters. All the same, theirs is a small, shrunken world. It consists of four countries: Japan, the United States, China and North Korea.

Other countries make cameo appearances, but their presence is remote and incidental. If North Korea were a normal country and China a nonentity, they too could be safely ignored, and only the U.S. would intrude on Japan’s introversion. But the U.S. — friend, ally and role model — is a welcome guest in the weeklies’ pages, as it is in the Japanese consciousness. It is almost part of the Japanese consciousness.

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