"Cambridge Gazette: Politico-Economic Commentaries" No.4 (March 29, 2010)

For Whom Japan's Last Dance Is Saved - China, the United States, or Chimerica?

  • Jun Kurihara
  • Research Director
    Jun Kurihara
  • [Expertise]
    U.S. Information and Network

 The year 2010 celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. Although the importance of geopolitics itself has hardly changed since 1960, East Asia's geopolitics has changed drastically. The Japan-U.S. alliance was established as East Asia's bulwark against communism during the Cold War era. But China's rise and other developments highlight a transformed environment. As partners, Japan and the United States have been loyal for decades and largely successful but the regional dance floor is more crowded than before, the music has changed, and the fashion is new. This essay explores competing perspectives for the Japan-U.S. alliance amidst these changing politico-economic circumstances. Against this backdrop, the authors ask ourselves for whom Japan's last dance is saved. Do policy makers in Tokyo believe that a choice between China and the United States might become necessary in the future? Should Japan seek a less exclusive relationship with the United States, and what are the key factors that will influence this decision?

 China's rise is inevitable, undeniable, and unstoppable. Especially since the so-called Lehman Shock that rocked global financial markets in 2008, China has demonstrated a resilient economic performance, and its economic growth makes the U.S. and Japanese recovery look extremely lackluster. Last year China became the world's largest exporter by surpassing Germany, and this year China's GDP is expected to overtake Japan's. The Chinese economy, having taken full advantage of globalization, has become strong enough to forestall the negative aspects of globalization. China's rise is now riveting the attention of the world with a mixed sense of praise, envy, and fear.......

“Cambridge Gazette: Politico-Economic Commentaries” No.4 (March 29, 2010)PDF:210.0 KB

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