A once-militaristic state, Japan has become an exemplary international citizen, one that has helped to promote stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. We are now seeing the assertion, as Japan wishes itself to be known, of a more “normal nation”. Of course, this bolder posture will be a test for Australian diplomacy, particularly in the way we deal with China, our largest trading partner. In a hard-edge editorial, China’s state-run news agency, Xinhua, claimed Mr Abe was using Australia to “build a network against China”. As well, it argued that the Japanese Prime Minister’s visit “will create new instability in the Asia-Pacific region”. Such niggling and false statements may play well to a home audience, but they do not cut the mustard on a broader stage.