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Critics in the Maldives likely sighed relief when Saudi King Salman this week postponed his visit because of an outbreak of flu. The flu is however unlikely to halt a planned massive Saudi investment or the impact on Maldives society of the kingdom’s religion-driven public diplomacy. [...] Yet, religion often was an elephant in the room on most stops on King Salman’s trip that took him to Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, China and Japan.

Next up is San Francisco, where this autumn another comfort women memorial will be erected. There, too, local politicians were subjected to hardball pressure tactics and an orchestrated campaign against the memorial that reflect badly on brand Japan. Shouldn’t public diplomacy work toward improving Japan’s image? In the history wars now being waged by Tokyo, this goal is being sacrificed on the altar of revisionism.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Asia on Wednesday for his first foreign trip with almost no fanfare. He’s travelling on a “small plane” with “a modest footprint,” says a spokesman. He’s bringing along just one reporter and will hold only one brief press conference during his planned stops in Japan, South Korea and China. It’s a far cry from the splash Hillary Clinton made in February 2009 on her first trip abroad as secretary of state, following a similar itinerary through Asia. 

Sakakibara stressed the importance of the Kingdom’s economic role for Japan and the keenness of the Japanese business sector toward the achievement of the strategic economic and developmental objectives of the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 that aims to bolster bilateral cooperation.

Japan International Broadcasting Inc., which transmits various information from Japan to destinations worldwide via NHK World TV, is now distributing the promotional music video “OISHII” (delicious) TRIP in collaboration with the vocaloid Hatsune Miku as a project of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (hereinafter “MAFF”).

The modern day relationship does not involve attempted invasions, divine typhoons, or malfunctioning boats, but rather political and diplomatic dialogue, economic relations, and people-to-people affairs. [...] As Mongolia’s foreign policy apparatus expands both regionally and globally, Japan serves as a source of democratic principles and values as well as a political, economic, and social model for Mongolia’s own development.

Asia continues to be a major focus of American diplomacy under President Donald Trump. Top officials from the administration -- including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson -- are set to underscore America's continued commitment to the geopolitically important region by soon visiting Asia.

Sailors from Commander Fleet Activities Okinawa, Commander Task Force 76, tenant commands and their families met Soldiers from the 15th Brigade of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) Feb. 8-9, to tour each other’s base and participate in cultural exchange. [...] Ishizuka said this quarterly cultural exchange helps break the ice between the two forces and makes working together easier down the road. 

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