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International relations

Japan gains more international posts, but China growing faster

Soft power competition intensifies between two Asia heavyweights

Japan's Izumi Nakamitsu, right, is the United Nations under-secretary-general and high representative for disarmament affairs. (Photo courtesy of U.N. Geneva)

TOKYO -- Japan's push for a bigger voice at the United Nations and other global organizations has contributed to a double-digit increase in positions held by Japanese nationals, but rising Asian power China has logged even faster growth.

Japanese nationals held 912 specialist positions or higher-ranking posts at international organizations as of the end of 2019, a gain of 23% from 2015 and nearly double the 2001 figure, U.N. data shows. This compares with 829 Chinese nationals, whose number jumped by 41% from 2015 to 2019.

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