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Recklessly, I undertook three self-imposed “forced marches” abroad in September — visiting Hong Kong for less than 48 hours, Seoul for just 30 hours two weeks later and then a 48-hour stay in Palo Alto, California, because something very important was happening in the rest of the world.

It was hectic, but intensive one-on-one conversations with overseas intellectuals have always help me think more deeply about international affairs. This time the short trips in a period of just three weeks helped me realize what would be the best foreign policy for Tokyo in the years to come.

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