Now that Vice-President Joe Biden is set to become the next U.S. president in January 2021, attention is turning to the makeup of his cabinet. Key figures, including those responsible for foreign policy, include Obama Administration veterans, who will be charged with helping to strengthen relations, particularly with America’s allies.
For Japan, the Japan–U.S. alliance has been relatively stable, partly thanks to the good personal rapport between former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump, but this has not dispelled worries within Japan about its burden given Trump’s disdain for the U.S. role as “the world’s policeman.” In fact, the U.S. alliance is more important than ever before for Japan, which must address national security concerns in the face of a rising China while dealing with the threat from North Korea. Beyond security, economic and technological relations with America are also critical for Japan. Moreover, the U.S. network of allies, the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy, and the Quadrilateral Security Dialog (Quad) are important assets for Japan, and the new administration is likely to continue with these assets in practice, even if some name changes may be introduced.