Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his counterparts from five Mekong region countries held their first summit on Friday and Saturday in Tokyo, hammering out Japan’s support measures to combat climate change and narrow economic gaps within the region. The summit was held at a time when China’s influence is growing in the region. Mr. Hatoyama can use the summit as a springboard for increasing Japan’s influence in the region and laying the groundwork for an East Asian Community, the establishment of which he advocates.

As a result of the summit, Japan will expand financial and technological assistance to the region in line with the Hatoyama Initiative, a plan that Mr. Hatoyama announced in September in the United Nations to help developing countries cut greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change.

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