The Imperative U.S.-Japanese Bond

The most important bilateral relationship in the world “bar none” is how Ambassador Mike Mansfield frequently referred to U.S.-Japan ties during his tenure as U.S. ambassador in Tokyo. Although some of my former Pentagon colleagues demurred that during the cold war U.S.-Soviet relations were even more important, few American admirers or critics of Japan disagreed about the fundamental importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance.

That good news doesn’t sell nearly as well as bad or sensational news was proven once again in 1991 when the American and Japanese media undertook a plethora of reporting on the fiftieth anniversary of Pearl Harbor, an interesting historical event that has virtually nothing to do with current U.S.-Japan relations. The media, however, said little or nothing about the fact that 1991 marked the fortieth anniversary of the signing of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty of 1951, which succeeded far beyond the most optimistic expectations.

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