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U.S. asks if Japan's Kishida is strategic partner in the Abe mold

Afghanistan experience has changed views on both sides of alliance

Then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, left, in 2017. Many in U.S. political circles hope to see Kishida as "the third chapter" of the Abe era. (Photo by Yuichiro Takagi)

NEW YORK -- In former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Washington found a strong ally who originated the idea of a free and open Indo-Pacific to counter growing Chinese power in the region. But now it prepares to deal with a new leader in Tokyo, Fumio Kishida, who may represent a new era of politics at a time of heightened doubts over the dependability of American commitments in the wake of the disordered exit from Afghanistan.

Kishida, a foreign minister under Abe, was chosen as the president of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party Wednesday. He will officially be elected prime minister on Monday. 

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