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Since taking office, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has attached importance to East Asia policy and has proposed, in Japan and abroad, his vision for creating an East Asian Community (EAC).

The idea of promoting regional cooperation in Asia dates back to the Pacific Rim cooperation initiative advanced in 1979 by then Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira, which resulted in the inauguration of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 1989. After the Cold War ended, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) shifted its priority to bolstering regional economic cooperation, and then the East Asia Summit was launched. In 2005, discussions began on ways to create an EAC.

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