U.S. Relationship With More Assertive Japan Undergoing Evolution

U.S. Relationship With More Assertive Japan Undergoing Evolution

TOKYO -- In February 1946 the U.S. forces occupying Japan drew up a new constitution for a country that had been left shattered by the Pacific War. Many Japanese cities were left in ruins, with vast swathes of them reduced to ash by intensive American firebombing.

Fast-forward six decades to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit last week to Washington, and Japan presents a very different picture. Despite a more than decade-long slump, Japan's economy remains the second largest in the world. It is a respected member of the international community and was found in a BBC poll in March to be the most positively viewed country in the world.

It is also one of the United States' key trading partners, and is the largest foreign market for U.S. agricultural products. The two countries also have close defensive and strategic ties, with about 50,000 U.S. troops still stationed in Okinawa, and a Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security that means Japan plays host to a carrier battle group, the 5th Air Force, the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, and sections of the Army's 1st Corps.

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