• Kyodo

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The leaders of Japan and Pacific island nations, many of which fear rising sea levels from global warming will eventually submerge their territory, gathered Friday night to kick off a two-day summit in Okinawa on regional maritime issues and disaster countermeasures.

Tokyo, which is hosting the triennial Japan-Pacific Islands Forum for the sixth time, invited the United States for the first time as Washington strategically shifts its focus to the Asia-Pacific region to stem China’s growing assertiveness. The event will be cochaired by Noda and Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna.

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