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Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, decided this week to open a formal inquiry into the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump. The surprise move — Pelosi had long refused to take that step — followed revelations about a July phone call between Trump and Volodymyr Zelenskiy, president of Ukraine, that appeared to encourage foreign intervention in U.S. elections to benefit himself, and using the resources of the United States government to pressure Zelenskiy to do so. That, in conjunction with attempts to cover up that conversation, looks like grounds for impeachment.

At present, there is little reason to think that Trump will be removed from office even if the House votes to impeach. The Senate is controlled by Republicans and they remain steadfastly behind the president. Nevertheless, the process will have political and policy implications. Japan must be prepared for the impacts.

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