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Issues & Insights Vol. 12 – No. 6 – On the Rebound The Alliance Face New Tests: The Fifth US-Japan Strategic Dialogue

2011 was a good year for the US-Japan alliance. After several tumultuous years, the two countries regained their footing when responding to the March 11 triple catastrophe, moving forward with bilateral security planning on a variety of fronts. Futenma, the ever-present elephant in the room, remains a sore spot, but the two governments appear to have figured out how to put that perennial Okinawan base problem in its rightful place and focus on ways to make progress. Thus, by the time the Pacific Forum’s fifth US-Japan Strategic Dialogue, was held on Feb. 5-7, 2012, a floor had been restored to the alliance and a positive trajectory was in place. This report reflects two days of candid discussions among some three dozen government officials and senior and next-generation security specialists from the two countries (all attending and speaking in their private capacities). We thank the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) for its ongoing support of this process. While all participants have had the chance to comment on this draft, it is not a consensus document; it reflects the views of the chair alone.

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