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PacNet #60 – Back to Earth with the DPJ

The wave of hysteria that greeted the victory of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in parliamentary elections last month has receded. The win doesn’t signal the end of the U.S.-Japan alliance, nor does it even necessarily imply a rough patch for the bilateral relationship. In fact, domestic policies, rather than the foreign policy agenda, are likely to most profoundly impact relations with the U.S. But keeping the alliance on an even keel is a second-best solution. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty: the two countries could use the opportunity to truly modernize their alliance. Sadly, that isn’t likely.