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The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Hawaii underscored once again the importance of wide-ranging cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. This concept of cooperation was first advocated by Japan and Australia several decades ago.

The reasons behind the two countries’ initiatives were rather complicated. Japan wanted to avoid being torn between Asia and the West, led by the United States and Europe, particularly at a time when European integration was about to deepen, and when the North American Free-Trade Agreement was in progress.

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