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The wave of hysteria that greeted the victory of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in parliamentary elections last month has receded. The win doesn’t signal the end of the U.S.-Japan alliance, nor does it necessarily imply a rough patch for bilateral ties. In fact, domestic rather than foreign policies are likely to have the most profound impact on relations with the U.S. But keeping the alliance on an even keel is a second-best solution. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty: The two countries could use the opportunity to truly modernize their alliance. Sadly, that isn’t likely.

As expected, DPJ head Yukio Hatoyama has made reassuring gestures toward the United States since the election, confirming in a phone conversation with President Barack Obama that the U.S.-Japan alliance continues to be the foundation of Japanese diplomacy.

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