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Fear of crumbling US-Japan pact drove Abe's defense expansion

Next PM will face tough choices as Washington balks at huge military costs

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 25, 2019.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Shinzo Abe leaves the post of Japan's prime minister with many tasks unfinished, including the economic revitalization promised by Abenomics, but his achievements in diplomacy and security should be recognized by future generations.

The most significant of these is mending and strengthening the relationship with the U.S. after it frayed under Abe's predecessor, Yukio Hatoyama of the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan. Abe also partnered with Australia and India to lay a stepping-stone for security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

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