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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has, so far, managed to keep the outbreak of new coronavirus COVID-19 from damaging his hard-won relationship with China, but that’s getting more difficult with each new case confirmed in Japan.

Abe has taken a softer approach to China over the virus than the Trump administration, winning praise for Tokyo in Beijing. That resonates with his efforts to nurse Japan’s relationship with its giant neighbor and biggest trading partner back to health since he took office in 2012 amid the worst crisis in decades.

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