The U.S.-Japan Alliance: The Pressures Are Mounting

The U.S.-Japan Alliance: The Pressures Are Mounting

Project Expert

Sheila A. Smith
Sheila A. Smith

Senior Fellow for Japan Studies

About the Project

The United States and Japan began their strategic partnership in the wake of World War II.  The San Francisco Peace Treaty, accompanied by a bilateral agreement to allow U.S. forces to remain on Japanese soil, set the tone for a postwar partnership that anticipated Japan’s economic recovery and inclusion in the United Nations and other multilateral organizations. The postwar regional order in Asia was predicated on this new U.S.-Japan relationship, one that offered Japan the benefits of U.S. strategic protection and a liberal global economic order.  A revised treaty in 1960 bound the United State to Japan’s defenses and bound Japan to U.S. regional strategy through the continued presence of U.S. forward deployed forces.  Today, sixty years later, the U.S.-Japan alliance seems strong, with deep popular support in both countries.  Nonetheless, both Washington and Tokyo seek to adapt their strategic cooperation as challenges to their prosperity and security rise. A new power threatens the premise of democracy’s benefits, a pandemic undermines the global economy, and nationalisms of various stripes are proliferating across the globe.  Can the United States and Japan still find common purpose as liberalism, at home and abroad, comes under fire? This work will result in a book, as well as articles, policy briefings, and meetings.

This project is made possible through support from the Smith-Richardson Foundation and the U.S.-Japan Foundation.