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US-Japan alliance amid changing security environment

The US-Japan alliance has been a cornerstone of Japan’s foreign and security policy and in the Indo-Pacific region. This alliance has persevered through several distinct hurdles since its founding in 1951 by adapting to shifting geopolitical and internal political forces.

Japan is in a vulnerable position due to its strategic location, as it faces difficulties and security threats from neighboring countries including North Korea, China and Russia. The US-Japan Security Treaty was premised on the fact that Japan provided bases and the US provided security.

Managing regional instability in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters has left the United States overburdened in its role as a security guarantor to its allies and partners in Europe and Asia. This has made the security conundrum worse and caused allies to have second thoughts about US security promises.

A significant transformation in the US-Japan alliance occurred last year when Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited the US in January last year. Washington welcomed Tokyo’s strong reaction to the Ukraine situation and its recent security changes.

They highlight Japan’s increased resolve to fortify its defenses and support regional deterrence, as well as its newfound capacity to use the bilateral relationship to address significant threats to the “global order.”

In December 2023, Japan also hosted the US government for an Extended Deterrence Dialogue (EDD), which was founded as a forum for discussions on how to maintain and enhance extended deterrence. The two countries agreed that the Japan-US alliance’s deterrent and response capabilities must be strengthened in the face of an increasingly difficult regional security environment.

Japan’srevised National