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Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has hailed as a “natural evolution” Japan’s push to play a more active role in global defense and security issues amid growing concerns over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and China’s increasing maritime assertiveness.

In a wide-ranging interview with NHK that was released Sunday, Bannon told of U.S. President Donald Trump’s close relationship with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has set a goal of revising the war-renouncing Constitution by 2020, specifically to legalize the Self-Defense Forces.

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