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Over the past two decades, successive American administrations have trumpeted the success of the alliance between the United States and Japan. Trump was no different. “I don’t think we’ve ever been closer to Japan,” the president said during his trip to Tokyo. But as tensions rise in Asia, Japan is going to need to do more – both for itself and for its American friends.
Richard McGregor: Asia’s Reckoning: China, Japan and the Fate of US Power in the Pacific Century by Richard McGregor review: ‘Unatural intimacies’ - 13th Nov
A compelling account of the post-war relationship between China, Japan and America, brings to life one of the globe’s defining relationships – the strains, the nuances, the competing strategic and emotional strands of trilateral ties.
For decades, successive U.S. presidents have hectored their counterparts in Japan to emerge from America’s shadow and take more responsibility for their defense, for foreign affairs and for other important issues around the world. Now, spurred by the unpredictability of the Trump administration, Abe seems to be embracing American advice.
SAGE exclusive speaker Richard McGregor says Japan is changing its national security calculations, rethinking Japan’s traditional dependence on the US military.
The battle to export bullet trains is clearly reflective of the broader rivalry between China and Japan for influence in Asia. Consequently, the India deal is not only a business coup for Japan but also a geostrategic one.
Tony Nash featured in: North Korea: ‘Toughest ever’ sanctions will only work in long term - 15th Sep
The magnitude of the sanctions depends on the duration. If they are only in force for two or three months, they’re not going to have any bite. These resources when they’re rationed go from the people with no power to the people with power. So it really won’t hurt the folks it is supposed to hurt that much if it’s just 30% reduction on oil imports.
China has enormous economic leverage over North Korea, that is the kind of leverage that if used, could come back against them.
China’s capabilities, and its confidence, are likely to outpace those of its neighbor. Japan knows that China is not going away, whereas one day, the US might. China is keen to emphasize to every nation in Asia a single truth: China’s presence is a geopolitical reality in Asia. The US presence, by contrast, is a geopolitical choice, one that China intends to make more and more costly.
Calder writes that compared to its assertive regional neighbors, Japan is relatively passive, and for the most part limits lobbying to traditional channels. Yet, the goalposts for influence have moved to the informal “penumbra of power” that lies outside the official tracks of diplomacy.
The good news is that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have gradually stabilized relations through a number of frosty but workmanlike bilateral meetings since both came to power five years ago. The leaders may struggle to smile when they pose for photographers together, but at least they are talking. In recent months, with the two countries signaling the way ahead, the pace of the dialogue has quickened.