The U.S.-Japan Alliance in 2020

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At this time of great uncertainty and rapid change, the United States and Japan face extraordinary challenges. These include an unrelenting pandemic, rising nationalism and populism, global economic turmoil, multiple technological revolutions, and renewed geopolitical competition. The U.S.-Japan alliance itself is one of the most important sources of stability and continuity in this period of great uncertainty, but there should be no doubt that together both countries must be prepared for a regional and world order under more stress than at any time in the last 70 years. This is the latest in a series of bipartisan “Armitage-Nye” reports that have assessed the state of the U.S.-Japan alliance and suggested a new agenda for the challenges and opportunities on the horizon. This current iteration has special importance because of shifting power dynamics in Asia and new expectations of Japan. Indeed, for the first time in its history, Japan is taking an equal, if not leading, role in the alliance. Developing a more equal U.S.-Japan alliance is critical to addressing both regional and global challenges. This report has identified issues that both allies should prioritize to advance their relationship as well as global security and prosperity.

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Joseph S. Nye Jr.
University Distinguished Service Professor, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Victor Cha
Senior Vice President for Asia and Korea Chair