America's Best Friend in Asia

commentary

Apr 10, 2024

U.S. President Joe Biden welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and his wife Kishida Yuko at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 10, 2024. photo by Annabelle Gordon/Sipa USA/Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and his wife Kishida Yuko at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 10, 2024

Photo by Annabelle Gordon/Sipa USA/Reuters

This commentary originally appeared on Foreign Affairs on April 10, 2024.

Alliances are a bit like families: you may not have a favorite member, but there is always one you depend on most. Throughout the Cold War, NATO was the collective ally that the United States depended on most in its global effort to stop Soviet expansionism. But in the twenty-first century, with the growing slate of traditional and nontraditional security issues, many of which center on China, the United States' new go-to ally is Japan.

Today, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will arrive at the White House for a state visit with U.S. President Joe Biden—the first such visit by a Japanese leader since 2015. The relationship has changed over the past decade but in ways that most Japan analysts could not have envisioned. Japan is now committed to spending close to two percent of its GDP on defense. This increase in funding is helping the country beef up its cybersecurity and acquire counterstrike capabilities to respond to enemy attacks. Japan has authorized the transfer of Patriot missiles to the United States and the export of advanced fighter jets abroad, and it is focusing on areas of national security that the country has long neglected. Altogether, these efforts demonstrate Japan's determination to do more for its own defense and for the U.S.-Japanese alliance.…

The remainder of this commentary is available at foreignaffairs.com.


Jeffrey W. Hornung is the Japan lead for the RAND National Security Research Division, a senior political scientist at RAND, and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

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