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PacNet #2 – Economic Realities Limit Japan’s Security Options

Since the inauguration of the Hatoyama administration in Tokyo last September, US-Japan relations have resembled a slow-motion train wreck. The Hatoyama government’s desire to “rebalance” Japan’s foreign policy and to forge “a more equal relationship” with its ally have triggered alarms and raised fears of a rupture, rather than the recalibration that everyone professes to want. But those fears are misplaced. Japan in fact has no viable alternative to its alliance with the United States. The real danger is that the current troubles do lasting damage to what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently described as a “truly indispensible” partnership.