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  • Backgrounder posted December 20, 2013 by Bruce Klingner The U.S. Should Support Japan’s Enhanced Security Role

    The United States has long urged its allies to assume more responsibility for their defense and for common security threats. Specifically, Washington has asked its allies, in Europe and Asia alike, to increase their defense expenditures, accept new missions, and develop new military capabilities. While some allies have tried to meet Washington’s challenge, Japan’s ability…

  • Commentary posted January 29, 2013 by Dean Cheng Asia on the Horizon

    As senators prepare questions for Chuck Hagel, they would do well to clarify his views on Asia, a crucial region for U.S. interests. It boasts the world’s two largest economies after the United States and much of the world’s holdings of U.S. dollars and dollar assets, such as Treasury bonds. Moreover, it is the source of much of the high technology that undergirds…

  • WebMemo posted February 8, 2012 by Bruce Klingner White House Deal with Japan Risks Military Capability in Asia

    On February 8, the United States and Japan jointly announced changes to the existing bilateral accord for realigning U.S. Marines on Okinawa. While both sides affirmed commitment to relocating a Marine air unit on the island, more significantly, the Obama Administration abandoned longstanding U.S. insistence that Japan fulfill pre-conditional commitments prior to…

  • WebMemo posted January 6, 2012 by Bruce Klingner The Missing Asia Pivot in Obama's Defense Strategy

    President Obama’s new defense strategy is long on rhetoric but bereft of details on how it will actually be implemented. The President boldly promised to maintain or augment U.S. military capabilities against a spectrum of global threats, but planned draconian defense cuts of $1 trillion would undermine the U.S.’s ability to achieve its national interests and defend…

  • WebMemo posted August 30, 2011 by Bruce Klingner, Derek Scissors, Ph.D. The U.S. Needs a Real Partner in the New Japanese Prime Minister

    As dependable as the tide, a new prime minister has washed ashore in Japan. Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda is the latest iteration of what has become an annual ritual of Japanese leadership change. Prime Minister Naoto Kan has been unceremoniously tossed aside, although his 15-month term will be remembered as relatively long by recent Japanese standards. The future…

  • WebMemo posted May 18, 2011 by Bruce Klingner Proposed Re-Realignment for Northeast Asia Ignores Strategic Realities

    Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D–MI), ranking member John McCain (R–AZ), and Senator Jim Webb (D–VA) have called on the United States to overhaul two complex military realignment agreements with South Korea and Japan. Their proposals would undermine years of carefully crafted diplomacy that achieved U.S. strategic objectives and resolved contentious…

  • Backgrounder posted January 7, 2011 by Bruce Klingner The Case for Comprehensive Missile Defense in Asia

    Abstract: The United States and its allies are at risk of missile attack from a growing number of states and non­state terrorist organizations. This growing threat is partic­ularly clear in East Asia, where diplomacy has failed to stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them on target, and where China continues the most active nuclear…

  • Lecture posted November 29, 2010 by Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D., Henry R. Nau, Ph.D., Helle C. Dale The Obama Doctrine: Hindering American Foreign Policy

    Abstract: The President has not yet defined the Obama Doctrine but its features are emerging through his statements and actions. These include a growing reliance on international organizations, a greater sense of humility about American values and foreign policy achievements, a reliance on foreign aid rather than military power, among other things. It is a value-neutral…

  • WebMemo posted November 9, 2010 by Bruce Klingner, Dean Cheng Do Not Expect Much from Japan During Obama Visit

    Any Japanese hopes that hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit would highlight Tokyo’s regional leadership abilities or reverse Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s plummeting approval ratings have been dashed. Instead, the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is buffeted by escalating domestic criticism for its timorous foreign policies, which encouraged…

  • WebMemo posted September 27, 2010 by Dean Cheng East China Sea Flare-Up: Learning the Wrong Lessons in Beijing

    Japanese prosecutors have reportedly decided to release the captain of the Chinese fishing boat whom they arrested after he apparently rammed two Japanese coast guard vessels in the waters around the Senkakus. The decision, a Japanese deputy public prosecutor said, was made “taking into account the impact on our citizens and Japan–China relations, [so] our judgment was…

  • WebMemo posted September 24, 2010 by Dean Cheng China–Japan Confrontation at Sea: Senkaku Islands Issue Won’t Go Away

    In recent weeks, a group of uninhabited rocky outcroppings in the East China Sea between Okinawa and Taiwan have become a serious source of tension between Beijing and Tokyo. On September 8, the Japan Coast Guard arrested the crew of a Chinese fishing vessel operating in the waters off the Senkakus, which is administered by Japan. Reports indicate that the fishing boat,…

  • WebMemo posted June 2, 2010 by Bruce Klingner New Japanese Government Should Affirm Support for Agreed Repositioning of U.S. Forces

    Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has bowed to the inevitable and announced his resignation, abruptly terminating his troubled administration. Hatoyama’s Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won a historic victory in the powerful lower house election last August, ending the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) 50-year reign. The DPJ’s landslide win ushered in unfounded expectations…

  • WebMemo posted March 24, 2010 by Bruce Klingner Politics of Well-Known Japanese “Secrets” Risk American Nuclear Umbrella

    On March 9, a Japanese foreign ministry panel revealed that several military agreements between Tokyo and Washington had been kept secret from the Japanese legislature and public for decades. The panel was created ostensibly to fulfill a Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) campaign pledge to improve government transparency. But the report conveniently provides the DPJ a…

  • Backgrounder posted December 16, 2009 by Bruce Klingner U.S. Should Stay Firm on Implementation of Okinawa Force Realignment

    Abstract: Attempts by the new Japanese government to renegotiate terms of the Guam Agreement, which would realign U.S. military forces in Japan, have seriously strained U.S.-Japan relations, harming the bilateral military alliance. The situation has not yet become a crisis, but continued mishandling could make it one. Japan needs to implement the terms of the agreement.…

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