Equality or Estrangement

For a half-century, the US, which wrote Japan’s postwar “peace” constitution, has pressed Japan to play a greater role in maintaining Asian and global stability. But now that Japan finally has a leader who agrees, the US is getting nervous.

TOKYO – Those whom the gods would destroy, they grant their wishes. Will that bit of ancient wisdom now hold for the United States and Japan?

For a half-century, the US, which wrote Japan’s postwar “peace” constitution, has pressed the Japanese to play a greater role in maintaining Asian and global stability. But now that Japan finally has a leader who agrees, the US is getting nervous, with Secretary of State John Kerry supposedly calling Japan under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “unpredictable.”

These strains in the US-Japan relationship – surely the foundation stone of Asian stability – first became noticeable in December, when Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which houses the “souls” of (among others) Class A war criminals from the Pacific War. The US has always criticized Japanese officials’ visits to the shrine, but through diplomatic channels. This time, America voiced its displeasure openly.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

http://prosyn.org/INGUZg0;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.