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Japan keen to build connections with Biden administration 

Nikkei wrote on Wednesday that the GOJ is busy finding and strengthening channels of communication with the incoming Biden administration, speculating that it is set to rely on former Ambassador Kennedy, who is close to Suga and is influential in the Democratic Party, as a primary liaison. The GOJ is also likely to seek the advice of former Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell on reaching out to the Biden administration. The daily also forecast that the projected President-elect will tap former senior Obama administration officials, such as former Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, national security advisor to the vice president Jake Sullivan, and former DOD Under Secretary of State Michèle Flournoy as top officials in charge of diplomatic and security affairs. However, some GOJ officials are wary of the possibility that former National Security Advisor Susan Rice will be given a key portfolio because of her conciliatory attitude toward China. The daily speculated that as the new U.S. leader will allow the State Department to play a greater role in dealing with overseas challenges, bilateral communications between diplomatic authorities will be smoother than under the Abe and Trump administrations. It added, however, that Tokyo’s ties with previous U.S. Democratic administrations occasionally frayed due to trade friction. Noting that Japan’s diplomatic clout has been partially shaped by the degree of its relations with Washington, the paper said Tokyo is eager to forge close personal ties between Biden and Suga. 

 

In a related item, Yomiuri took up a speech delivered on Tuesday by former Ambassador to the U.S. Fujisaki, who predicted a “major shift” in U.S. foreign policy under a Biden administration. The ex-diplomat reportedly emphasized that such a change would be desirable for the free world. 

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