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China held about $1.154 trillion of US debt as of August 2012, while Japan held about $1.122 trillion.
Japan is set to overtake China as the United States' top creditor, Bloomberg News reported.
"China is poised to lose its place as the US's biggest creditor for the first time since the height of the financial crisis, blunting one of Mitt Romney’s favored attacks in the presidential campaign," Bloomberg wrote.
More from GlobalPost: A China cheat sheet for the presidential debates
According to the Treasury Department, China held about $1.154 trillion of US debt as of August 2012, while Japan held about $1.122 trillion. According to Bloomberg, at its current rate, Japan is in line to surpass China as the main lender to the US by January.
A May 4 article by Cybercast News Service said that Japan has recently shown much more interest than China in acquiring US Treasury securities. "The Chinese, over the past three years, have almost entirely divested from US Treasury bills.... By contrast, the Japanese have increased their ownership of US T-bills over the past three years."
As Bloomberg noted, the impending shift of the nation holding the most US debt has implications for the campaign messages of both Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama as they head into the Nov. 6 election. Both their Tuesday evening debate and their final meet, scheduled for Oct. 22, will emphasize foreign policy.
Will discussions of the US relationship with Japan now take on new importance?
Certainly, China is still a major area for discussion by the candidates. Never fear: GlobalPost pulled together a three-point primer on China to get you up to speed before the debates.
More from GlobalPost: 6 foreign policy issues that should be discussed during the presidential debates (VIDEO)