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Over the past two years since returning to the government’s helm, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has visited 50 countries — a record number for Japan’s top leader — to push his “proactive peace diplomacy.” But it is unclear whether his diplomatic initiatives have produced results that truly contribute to reducing tensions in East Asia as Japan’s relations with its closest neighbors remain strained.

While Chinese and South Korean leaders tend to utilize the history issues vis-a-vis Japan to advance their political advantages at home, it cannot be denied that the two countries harbor suspicions over Abe’s revisionist perception of Japan’s modern history, especially its wars, as well as his Cabinet’s decision to reinterpret the Constitution so that Japan can engage in collective self-defense.

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