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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands during their meeting in the Oval Office in February 2017.   © Getty Images
The Big Story

Abe's fourth arrow -- diplomacy

How Japan's prime minister took a central role on the world stage

GAKU SHIMADA, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

TOKYO -- "I can build a relationship with this man," Shinzo Abe confidently told his aides after meeting U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower on Nov. 17, 2016. "I can't say that I was able to do so with President Obama. But with Trump, I might be able to talk quite candidly."

After the meeting -- held just nine days after Trump's upset victory over Hillary Clinton -- the president-elect accompanied Abe on the elevator ride down from the penthouse to the marble-and-gold entrance. The respectful gesture was a pleasant surprise for the Japanese prime minister, who had heard horror stories about the real estate mogul's haughty behavior.

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