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International relations

Japan taps elite diplomats as envoys to vital Indo-Pacific region

High-profile names sent to Indonesia and Australia reflect democratic push

Kenji Kanasugi, left, now Japan's ambassador to Indonesia, worked closely with U.S. counterpart Sung Kim back when they served as their countries' representatives on North Korean affairs. (Photo by Keiichiro Asahara)

JAKARTA -- With the Indo-Pacific emerging as a top diplomatic priority for Japan, the country has selected its latest crop of ambassadors to the region from the highest rungs of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga aims to strengthen the partnership among democratic countries in the Indo-Pacific in response to China's growing influence, an initiative begun under his predecessor, Shinzo Abe. Tokyo is selecting new envoys who have not only impressive credentials but also a track record in working with foreign counterparts.

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