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Suga likely to be cautious in diplomacy, avoid disputes with Asian neighbors

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Lacking diplomatic experience, new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is likely to take a cautious approach in the early stages of his foreign policy, eschewing steps that might inflame relations with Asian neighbors, analysts said.

Drastic measures are therefore unlikely, with little likelihood of swift diplomatic breakthroughs such as in ties with South Korea, they said.

Relations with Seoul remain a major diplomatic challenge after plunging to their worst level in years under the previous government of Shinzo Abe due to disputes over wartime labor compensation and trade policy.

Suga, meanwhile, who positioned himself as the continuity candidate in the race to succeed Abe, will face the task of pushing ahead with efforts begun under his predecessor to improve ties with China despite a territorial dispute in the East China Sea.

Such efforts, however, have become more complicated in recent months due to concerns over Beijing's introduction of a new national security law in Hong Kong. Tensions are also escalating between Japan's key ally the United States and China.

"Mr. Suga, a very domestic-oriented politician who has focused on revitalizing regional economies, is likely to rely on his foreign minister to promote Japan's diplomacy for the time being, and........

© Japan Today

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