The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Reform and Uncertainty

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Japan is a nation in flux. Economically, the government is struggling to stoke growth with expansionary monetary policy and reform; demographically, it is challenged by a rapidly aging population; and strategically, the pacifist island nation is rebuilding its military in the face of perhaps the most complex regional security environment since World War II. From Chinese territorial claims in the disputed waters of the east and south China seas to North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and increasingly sophisticated launch capabilities – recently demonstrated by a ballistic missile test last month – Tokyo is beset by new threats.

Meanwhile, the election of President Donald Trump, who suggested on the campaign trail last year that Washington should be “prepared to walk” away from allies like Japan if they don’t agree to contribute more to U.S. base costs, has thrown Japan’s most important security relationship into doubt.

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