Home United States USA — Japan What Factors Are Driving Japan and the U.S. Toward a Closer Relationship?

What Factors Are Driving Japan and the U.S. Toward a Closer Relationship?

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Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida came to the U.S. for a state visit. The trip, which also included a meeting with President Joe Biden, underscores the importance of relations between Japan and the U.S. for both parties.
Since World War II, Japan and the U.S. have been close allies, but there’s one factor that’s driving the two countries even closer to each other: China. China’s looming threat may make a U.S.-Japan alliance more crucial than ever.
In a January op-ed at The Japan Times, Brad Glosserman notes that 2024 could be a pivotal year for relations between Japan and the U.S. He cites Kishida’s scandal-plagued administration, further instability within Japan’s political infrastructure, and the presidential election here in the U.S. He writes that this year could “test the alliance.”
However, while Glosserman thinks that a second Donald Trump term could jeopardize the relationship between the U.S. and Japan for some reason, Jay Aeba of the Japanese Conservative Union believes that Trump will be good for the alliance. Why? Because Trump and Japan are on the same page regarding China.
The threat that China poses to Asian (and global) stability could forge an even stronger bond between the two nations. The Heritage Foundation’s Bruce Klingner points out that Japan has grave concerns not only about China’s saber-rattling over Taiwan but also over North Korea’s increasing threat.
“Tokyo fears that it could be drawn into a Taiwan conflict either indirectly, given its proximity, or directly if China were to attack U.S. bases in Japan that were being used as staging points to defend Taiwan,” Klingner writes. “Japan assesses that North Korea is an ‘even more grave and imminent threat to Japan’s national security than ever before’ because of the regime’s continued augmentation of its nuclear and missile arsenal. Tokyo has declared that North Korea’s actions ‘significantly undermine the peace, stability, and security of the region and the international community.

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