The US-Japan alliance in action: Threats to thwart, opportunities to seize

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Event Summary

As Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jim Zumwalt highlighted at an AEI event on Wednesday, Japan is already considered a valuable US partner on a wide range of issues, even those not related to the Asia-Pacific region. Even so, as two panels of experts discussed, the problems Asia is encountering will likely demand even greater cooperation.

Bruce Klingner of the Heritage Foundation pointed to North Korea as an immediate concern, forecasting another North Korean tactical attack. Taking a long-term view, Tetsuo Kotani of the Japan Institute of International Affairs laid out three scenarios Asia could face because of China's rise: a "Pax Sinica" (peace on Chinese terms), an uneasy balance of power, or the creation of a liberal regional order.

Ernie Bower of the Center for Strategic and International Studies argued that Japan should encourage the US to demonstrate greater political will in engaging with Southeast Asia. Ely Ratner of the Center for New American Security maintained that the US "rebalance" to Asia needed to place more emphasis on the nonmilitary initiatives in the economic and political spheres. Ambassador Yoshiji Nogami concluded the discussion by emphasizing the importance of and great potential for enhanced US-Japan cooperation if the relationship is placed in a broader context, raising several other avenues that required further discussion, including US-Japan-India relations.

--Lara Crouch

Event Description

Both Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and US President Barack Obama have been gifted with "do-overs," affording a new chance to reinvigorate Japan's relationship with the United States. Indeed, Abe had a message for the United States during his recent visit in February: Japan is back.

How can the United States and Japan capitalize on areas that are ripe for collaboration? How will Abe, in cooperation with Obama, confront the uncertain security environment in Asia, including the troubling trajectory of China's foreign policy and Asia's myriad territorial disputes? Can Abe prove that Japan's success and international involvement is crucial to global stability? Please join us for two panel discussions among American and Japanese security experts as they debate these issues and more.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.

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