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PacNet #11 – Building a Silk Road: U.S.-Japan Cooperation for Afghanistan and Central Asia

This weekend, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton begins her first overseas tour when she travels to China, Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia. To the relief of the Japanese government, she will first touch down in Tokyo, where she is expected to reaffirm the U.S.-Japan alliance as the bedrock of U.S. policy and strategy in the Asia-Pacific region. One aspect of Clinton’s trip that has received little attention in the media is the potential for expanded U.S.-Japanese cooperation in Afghanistan. In fact, this issue is likely to be near the top of her agenda in Tokyo. If the Japanese government can increase its participation in the campaign in Afghanistan, then it will surely score points with the Obama administration at a time when many in Tokyo are concerned that a Democratic White House will bypass Tokyo for Beijing when it comes to discussion of the crucial strategic issues in Asia.