Japan Is America’s Most Essential Ally

Ever since World War II ended, Japan has been passing the buck.

Sheltered by the postwar U.S. security alliance, Japan provided bases for American forces but kept its own military spending remarkably low for a country of its size and wealth, resisting American urging to share more of the burden.

China makes that no longer tenable. Its ambitions and expanding global influence threaten Japanese territory and an international order — based on democracy, free trade and respect for human rights — in which Japan plays a leading role.

Much is made of U.S. cultural and historical ties to Europe. But Japan is the linchpin of today’s paramount geopolitical competition — China’s push for regional dominance of East Asia — and it is America’s most essential ally. As leaders of Group of 7 countries meet in Hiroshima this week with China high on the agenda, Japan and its allies must recognize that Japan is critical to successfully managing the Chinese challenge and needs to finally get…

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This article was written by Jennifer Lind and originally published on www.nytimes.com