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Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivered the keynote speech at last weekend’s Shangri-La Dialogue — and that’s a big deal.

The annual meeting, convening in-person for the first time in two years, is the opportunity for officials and experts to discuss and assess regional security, to get the lay of the land and lay down markers. Giving Kishida the Friday night speaking slot is an indication of the central role Japan now plays in regional security affairs. That may prompt a yawn among many readers but it is a remarkable transformation for a country that was long considered marginal in this arena.

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