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US ambassador reaffirms alliance with Japan under Obama's administration
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U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer on Thursday reassured Japan that Washington will continue to "value and nurture" its alliance with Tokyo in the next administration under President-elect Barack Obama, saying the Japanese people should be confident "nothing happened yesterday can change that".

Schieffer said his embassy started preparation from last summer to ensure a "seamless transition" and now the process should be accelerated with regard to the U.S.-Japan relations.

"Democrats and Republicans since the end of the war have believed American security was dependent upon a good, healthy relationship and alliance with Japan," Schieffer told a news conference in the wake of Wednesday's presidential election results.

"I hope that I can reassure the people of Japan that America stands with you today as we stood with you yesterday, as we will stand with you tomorrow," the ambassador said.

However, the ambassador himself will pack home when Obama swears in on January 20.

"The U.S. ambassador to foreign countries are the personal representatives of presidents. My term as the ambassador would end at the same time as President Obama swears in on Jan. 20," he said, adding that after spending eight years in Australia and Japan he is "anxious to go home."

In response to reporters' questions, he said the United States will remain committed to trade, although definitions of fair trade may differ among administrations.

He also said that Washington is very "sympathetic" to Japan's situation on abduction by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and will continue to support Tokyo's efforts to tackle the unresolved issue.

He ruled out the possibility of meeting between Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso in upcoming meetings of world's top 20 economies, saying president-elect traditionally doesn't do that as there is only one president in the United States.

(Xinhua News Agency November 6, 2008)

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