Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (JSDF)—now the most trusted institution in Japan—are poised to play a larger role

in enhancing Japanese security and reputation if anachronistic constraints can be eased.

Japan is not an insignificant country positioned in a quiet part of the world. The United States and others rely on Japan as the maritime lynchpin to a stable, strategic equilibrium in the Asia Pacific region; the second-largest contributor to the United Nations (UN), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other leading multinational institutions; and the host of U.S. forces that keep sea-lanes open for the world’s most dynamic hemisphere.

The United States needs a strong Japan no less than Japan needs a strong United States. And, it is from this perspective that we address the alliance and its stewardship. For Japan to remain standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States, she will need to move forward with us. Japan has been a leader in Asia in the past and can continue to be in the future.

The following report presents a consensus view of the members of a bipartisan study group on the U.S.-Japan alliance. The report specifically addresses energy, economics and global trade, relations with neighbours, and security-related issues. Within these areas, the study group offers policy recommendations for Japan and the United States, which span near- and long-term time frames. These recommendations are intended to bolster the alliance as a force for peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

The United States and Japan share an interest in promoting a Southeast Asia that is a partner in the development of democracy and human rights and an engine of economic growth. Both our countries also need the full cooperation of Southeast Asian nations in fighting terrorism, proliferation, and infectious diseases. US-JAPAN At the same time, however, a bipolar structure with only the United States and Japan facing China would be ineffective, because it would force other regional powers to choose between two competing poles. Some might side with the United States and Japan, but most regional powers would choose strict neutrality or align with China. Ultimately, this would weaken the powerful

Consider Japan’s role today. Japan upholds the balance of power in Asia through its own measured self-defense capabilities and support for U. with over $500 million in grants and the dispatch of its Self Defense Forces. Australia. All these efforts should be coupled with measures to expand areas of cooperation with China. and New Zealand. That is why the U. and others are leading by example.example of American and Japanese democracy and return the region to a Cold War or nineteenth Century balance-of-power logic that does not favour stability in the region or contribute to China’s potential for positive change.-Japan alliance will continue to shape Asia’s future as it has its past—and be a critical factor in the global equation.S. The United States and Japan should also seek to build relationships with countries such as Vietnam. but after 50 years of passivity. The ability of the Japanese economy to sustain such high levels of financial support for the international system will likely decrease in relative terms by 2020. India. and even though the United States is closely allied with Japan. and global cooperation. Singapore. the International Monetary Fund (IMF). while being candid with Beijing about areas of disagreement. which shares our values. which has a growing interest in being a part of Asia’s trading life. commitment. presence. democratic principles. Japan has become a positive model for economic development. Stability in East Asia will rest on the quality of U. One thing is certain about 2020: the United States and Japan will still be the world’s two largest economies with democratic systems and shared values.-Japan-China relations. Washington should encourage good relations among all three. . and leadership in the region. and the Asian Development Bank.S. An open structure in which Japan. the World Bank.S. Japan is the world’s most respected contributor of public goods. is the most effective way to realize an agenda for Asia that emphasizes free markets. continued prosperity based on the rule of law. Japan upholds international institutions as the second-largest donor to the United Nations. The best structure for Asia rests on sustained U. and increasing political freedom. with the exception of China and Korea. Japan provides relief in cases like the 2004 tsunami. Polls in 2006 of countries around the world demonstrate that.S. strength. based on partnerships with the United States and shared democratic values. combined with proactive participation in regional affairs by Asia’s other successful powers.

But if U. Instead of a Japan that underpins the international system in 2020.S. and nationalistic at worst. The United States needs a Japan that is confident and engaged in that way. it may become comfortable as a “middle power” at best. strategy continues to have high expectations for Japan that meld with Japanese national sentiment. Japan will stand as a powerful model for the region of what leadership based on democratic values means.Japan’s new leaders are arguing for a more proactive security and diplomatic role that will keep Japan’s weight in the international system high. Not to encourage Japan to play a more active role in support of international stability and security is to deny the international community Japan’s full potential. Turning away from the U. prickly. and recalcitrant. .S.-Japan alliance or lowering our expectations of Japan would likely have a negative impact on regional stability and its role in the region.

and subsequently enhanced with implementation measures most recently in 1997 with the Revised Guidelines. The terms of the alliance basically require the United States to defend Japan. .125 Fundamental to the challenges facing alliance managers are the different national priorities on the two main articles of the pact. if it were to be attacked. significantly revised in 1960. and for Japan to provide bases and logistical support to the United States for both that purpose and for American efforts to provide peace and security in East Asia.The pact was first signed in San Francisco in1951.

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