Daily Review: Is This the Peak of U.S.-Japan Relations?

Daily Review: Is This the Peak of U.S.-Japan Relations?
U.S. President Joe Biden attends a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio at Akasaka Palace, May 23, 2022, in Tokyo (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

U.S. President Joe Biden will welcome Japanese PM Kishida Fumio tomorrow for a state visit in Washington, where the two are expected to announce new commitments to modernizing the U.S.-Japan military alliance. Kishida will also deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress on Thursday. (Washington Post)

Our Take

Biden and Kishida are meeting at a time when U.S.-Japan relations are at their strongest point in recent memory. This is most visible in the two sides’ security partnership, in which Tokyo and Washington appear to be in lock-step. The U.S. and Japan view the East Asian security landscape, including the looming threat of China, similarly, and Japan has stepped up its role as a regional security provider in response.

Beyond security, Tokyo has also elevated its focus on a number of U.S. priorities, including support for Ukraine, partnerships with the Global South, warming relations with fellow U.S. ally South Korea and involvement in the so-called Quad, which also includes India and Australia. The only real point of friction between the two leaders this week is Biden’s opposition to Japan-based Nippon Steel’s $14.9 billion bid to acquire U.S. Steel. But even that has not led to a deterioration in relations between Washington and Tokyo, and should be a manageable bump in the road if the deal is ultimately blocked.

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