Japan: Pacific Century

The Japanese economy is in trouble, its political world leaderless. The United States, Tokyo’s main strategic and trading partner, is promoting new policies for the region: China is seen as a strategic competitor, peace between the Koreas is now on the back burner. Can Japan deflect the inevitable tensions with its own regional vision?

The World Today
6 minute READ

Dr John Nilsson-Wright

Former Korea Foundation Korea Fellow and Senior Fellow for Northeast Asia, Asia-Pacific Programme

The collision between a US nuclear submarine and the Japanese fishing vessel, Ehime Maru, in February and the loss of nine out of the ship’s thirty-five passengers and crew, has provoked a storm of press coverage in Japan – much of it critical of the United States. Senior Japanese officials have expressed concern and there has been widespread public discontent. If the pattern of earlier crises, such as the rape of a twelve year-old Okinawan school girl by US marines in 1995 is followed, then a rift, or at least weakening of relations between Washington and Tokyo is likely.

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