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Japan's PM to meet Obama

JAPANESE Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, in today's meeting with President Barack Obama, is looking to reaffirm Japan's alliance with the US and boost his leadership credentials as his popularity flags at home.

Noda, who came to power in September and is Japan's sixth prime minister in six years, faces huge challenges in reviving the economy and helping his nation recover from the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

His Oval Office meeting and working lunch with President Barack Obama, to be followed by a gala dinner hosted by Hillary Clinton, could offer some brief relief from domestic woes. The two sides are determined to show that US-Japan ties are as close as ever.