The Changing U.S.-Japan Alliance: Implications for U.S. Interests
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
Pagination or Media Count:
Since the late 1990s, and particularly since 2000, the U.S.-Japan alliance has undergone significant changes. During the first term of the Bush Administration, converging U.S. and Japanese objectives in confronting North Koreas nuclear and missile programs and Japans participation in U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan reinforced the notion of the U.S.-Japan alliance as one of the central partnerships of U.S. foreign policy, particularly in Asia. By 2007, political developments in Japan and diverging policy approaches to North Korea created some distance in the relationship, but defense officials in the Obama Administration continue to work on implementing significant agreements to upgrade the alliance. As U.S. personnel and facilities in Japan are realigned as part of the broader Pentagon strategy of deploying a more mobile force, Japan is expected to take an active role in contributing to global stability. However, political turmoil in Tokyo has led to considerable uncertainty about Japans future security policies, including its stance towards U.S.-Japan defense cooperation. Japans main opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan DPJ, is widely expected to gain seats in the August 30, 2009 Lower House of parliament elections, and it may achieve its goal of replacing the Liberal Democratic Party as Japans governing party. The election is widely seen as a potential watershed--should the LDP lose its grip on power, which it has held since the 1950s with only a brief interruption, it is unclear whether its successor would be as supportive a security partner for the United States.
- Government and Political Science