Of all the post-World War II changes in Japan, the most momentous is that it never regained the status of a genuinely independent country.
Tokyo cannot act freely by choosing what is likely to be most beneficial for itself or the region. Productive diplomacy between Japan and its neighbors is obstructed because of limitations imposed by a United States that treats Japan as if it were a protectorate rather than a sovereign country. Having followed the dynamics of the U.S.-Japan relationship for more than half a century, I can only conclude that Japan bends to American wishes because its representatives do not insist that it be treated as a sovereign state. Washington can get away with bullying Japan because it knows that national pride is not a problem with either media or political representatives. Some scrutiny of recent history makes that again very obvious.
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