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New Japanese PM Suga Faces Host of Diplomatic Challenges

New Japanese PM Suga Faces Host of Diplomatic Challenges

   Tokyo, Sept. 16 (Jiji Press)--As new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga took office on Wednesday, his administration will be tested with major diplomatic challenges, such as maintaining and further strengthening the nation's alliance with the United States and improving its ties with its key East Asian neighbors, China and South Korea.
   His predecessor, Shinzo Abe, was one of the first national leaders to build a rapport with U.S. President Donald Trump, who does not hesitate to confront allies with his "America First" stance. The former prime minister also engaged in "diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map" during his long reign.
   In a debate held during the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's leadership race, Suga said that he would be unable to achieve what Abe had done and that he would conduct diplomacy while consulting the predecessor. The comment left the impression that Suga is not confident in his foreign policy skills.
   Suga's government will be tasked with concluding by year-end negotiations with the United States on Japan's share of costs for U.S. troops stationed in the country. While the specifics depend on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in November, Washington is expected to demand that Japan increase its share of the burden. Trust between the leaders of the two countries is essential to settle the difficult issue and stabilize Japan-U.S. relations.
   Another challenge for Suga is Japan's relations with South Korea, which are said to be at the lowest point in history due to the issue of wartime labor.

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