Last month, on the eve of the G20 summit in Osaka, reports emerged that U.S. President Donald Trump was openly mulling a withdrawal from the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty as a result of an "unfair" sharing of alliance burdens.

The reality is that there has been no change to the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance, and both sides were quick to dismiss any uncertainty.

But the remarks, which fall in line with Trump's standard "America First" rhetoric, underscore once again why Tokyo needs to continue building partnerships with other like-minded countries invested in a secure and rules-based Indo-Pacific region. This is not to replace or hedge against the U.S. alliance, but rather to complement and diversify the stakeholders supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific.