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Biden's elevation of energy-rich Qatar stuns Japan

Tokyo haunted by private-sector decision not to extend LNG contract with Doha

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and U.S. President Joe Biden meet in the White House on Jan. 31. (Photo courtesy of the Amiri Diwan)

TOKYO -- When U.S. President Joe Biden sat across from Qatar's ruling emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, it was a punch in the gut for Japanese government officials.

This pain came not only from the realization that the American leader had welcomed the emir, while not extending such an invitation to new Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Tokyo has also found that its recent cooling of ties with Qatar could not have come at a worse time.

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