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After Abe's charm offensive, new Japan leader needs Russia reset

US debate over 'soft' vs.' hard' approach to Putin has consequences for Asia

Shinzo Abe, then Japan's prime minister, and Russian President Vladimir Putin make a joint statement after a meeting in Moscow in 2019. New Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will need to learn from Abe's long experience in dealing with Putin.

TOKYO -- As a debate rages in Washington over whether to court or confront Russia, Japan's new leader will need to learn from his predecessor Shinzo Abe's experience in dealing with Vladimir Putin.

Last month, opposition activist Alexei Navalny suddenly lost consciousness aboard a plane over Russia and had to be put into a medically induced coma after what Western observers believe was an assassination attempt with a nerve agent. Moscow denies any involvement.

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