A note of skepticism has crept into the public perception of Japan-U.S. relations in both countries. The Harris Poll on the image of Japan in the United States, published on Dec. 19, found that the percentage of the American public who considered Japan a reliable partner declined from 84 percent in 2012 to 76 percent in 2013.

In Japan, according to the Nikkei Digital poll of Feb. 2, 2014, more than 80 percent of the respondents expressed a feeling of uncertainty about the Japan-U.S. alliance relationship in the face of the increasingly salient emergence of China. This may be related to the following recent changes in Japan-U.S. relations.

In the 1950s, the path of dependence on the U.S. chosen by Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida gave rise to resentment of Japan's subservience to the U.S. It led those on the left of the political spectrum to espouse unadulterated pacifism or neutrality, and those on the right, including Nobusuke Kishi, who subsequently became prime minister, to hanker for greater autonomy and independence.