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“Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida recently told an international security gathering in Singapore, a catchphrase that speaks to the harsh lessons learnt over the past few months.

Better deterrence and response capabilities, he told a room packed with defense officials and diplomats, will be “absolutely essential if Japan is to learn to survive in the new era and keep speaking out as a standard-bearer of peace.” Cranking up rhetoric, though, is the easy part.

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