Publisher Council on Foreign Relations Press
Release Date October 1999
The U.S.-Japan alliance is confronting its most critical test since its inception in 1951, a new evolutionary stage in a radically changed context, with the rise of China, Asia's economic crisis, and Japan's economic decline and political immobility.
Alliance Adrift offers a dynamic and informative overview of this process of "redefining" the U.S.-Japan alliance. It presents four specific case studies: the impact of macroeconomic and trade frictions on the alliance; the effect suspicions about North Korea's nuclear program has on the alliance's functions; the vehement protests against the alliance triggered by the rape of an Okinawan schoolgirl by U.S. servicemen in 1995; and the challenges to the alliance posed by the strains put on Sino-American relations by Taiwan and the 1996 Chinese missile tests that prompted the U.S. decision to dispatch an aircraft carrier to the region. These events were all part of the "redefining" process, which continues to this day and is likely to continue.