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In a poll commissioned by the Foreign Ministry, a record 80 percent of the American public said Japan was a dependable country. The results of this poll, undertaken by the famed Gallup Organization and released in late May, showed a considerable shift in attitudes toward Japan.

Only 60 percent of Americans trusted Japan in a similar poll in 1998. Although relations between the two countries have never been entirely frosty, the latest poll is a sign of a bicultural warming of a welcome sort, and an opening for Japan to make progress in its place in the world.

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