U.S.-Japan: Distracted Governments Make some Positive Progress

Nicholas Szechenyi, Michael J. Green
Content Type
Journal Article
Comparative Connections
Issue Number
Publication Date
January 2008
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo outlined his foreign policy agenda in an address to the Diet, highlighting – as did his predecessors Abe Shinzo and Koizumi Junichiro – the U.S.-Japan alliance and international cooperation as the foundations of Japanese diplomacy. But legislation authorizing Japan's naval refueling mission in the Indian Ocean became a political football in a divided legislature and expired on Nov. 1, forcing Fukuda to draft a new bill and extend the Diet session twice in an attempt to continue Japan's support for the war on terror. Fukuda noted the importance of the bill during a November summit with President Bush in Washington that also covered other issues including the Six-Party Talks and concerns in Japan about a perceived shift in the U.S. position on Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea. Other developments such as a new agreement on host nation support for U.S. forces in Japan and a successful sea-based missile defense test demonstrated forward trajectory for alliance cooperation. Yet the quarter ended with other issues unresolved, namely Japan's suspension of Indian Ocean refueling operations and Pyongyang's failure to come clean on its nuclear programs.
International Relations
Political Geography
United States, Japan, Washington, India, North Korea, Pyongyang