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Global order in middle powers' hands as superpowers turn inward

Domestic turmoil risks rendering U.S. an unreliable partner to Japan

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speak to reporters in Tokyo on April 28. The decision by Angela Merkel's successor to prioritize Tokyo over China marked a sweeping shift in German foreign policy. (Photo by Tomoki Mera)

TOKYO -- As Japan prepares for U.S. President Joe Biden's first visit in office this month, against the backdrop of a Ukraine conflict that has cemented postwar rifts and underscored the divide between democracies and autocracies, Tokyo faces the fundamental question of how much it can really rely on America.

The trip will likely provide a chance to reaffirm the strength of the alliance between Washington and Tokyo -- and their unity in supporting Ukraine, punishing Russia with sanctions, and curbing the Chinese threat in the Indo-Pacific.

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