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Since coming to power four months ago, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has successfully mended fences with China and South Korea, reinforced diplomatic and economic foundations in Europe, and built bridges in Southeast Asia. But he has not visited his closest ally, U.S. President George W. Bush, although Abe met Bush for the first time as prime minister on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum meeting in Hanoi in November.

Abe’s visit to Washington had been given less priority not to slight relations with the United States, but probably because the close ties with his ally across the Pacific were judged to be in good condition.

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