So far, so good. Whatever anxieties may have lurked in Japanese imaginations upon the launch of Joe Biden’s presidency, they should have dissipated in recent weeks. It would be hard to script a better start to the new U.S. administration and its relationship with Japan.
U.S. diplomacy has underscored the primacy of the Japan-U.S. alliance in Biden’s foreign policy, the alignment of views between the two countries on key regional issues and the administration’s readiness to follow through on candidate Biden’s promises of multilateralism and consultation.
Little noticed among the many highlights of the first three months is the U.S. embrace of a more expanded conception of security, one with greater attention to economic issues — a hitherto undervalued dimension of the competition for regional (and global) leadership. This new emphasis will not only pay immediate dividends, but it plays to Japan’s strengths and will allow this country to better contribute to regional security.