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Kishida running into difficulties seizing diplomatic initiative 

Saturday’s Asahi wrote that Prime Minister Kishida’s diplomacy has apparently failed to get off to a good start due in part to the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, noting that he has only been able to travel abroad once since assuming office in early October. Prospects for Kishida’s visit to Washington for a summit with President Biden are still uncertain because the U.S. leader is busy dealing with the domestic agenda. The Japanese leader is also walking a tightrope when it comes to dealing with China in view of the “diplomatic boycotts” of the Beijing Olympics announced by the United States, Australia, and other key Japanese partners. The prime minister has also reportedly failed to seize the initiative in relations with Russia, South Korea, and North Korea. The paper added that as a politician elected from Hiroshima, Kishida is keen to play up his commitment to nuclear disarmament by lobbying global leaders to produce an agreement at the upcoming NPT Review Conference next month.  

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