In the second installment of a three-part series, executives at the Asia Pacific Initiative — Chairman Yoichi Funabashi, Research Director Yuichi Hosoya and Ken Jimbo, Executive Director for the Japan-U.S. Military Statesmen Forum — discuss how the international order involving the U.S. and China has evolved over the years and how it has affected the Japan-U.S. relationship.

With the United States taking a harsher stance on China on the topics of human rights and trade, Japan is at a crossroads as to whether it too should follow a firmer line on China or continue to be strategically vague to avoid damaging Tokyo's strong economic relationship with Beijing.

KJ: The core challenge for the Japan-U.S. alliance is how Tokyo and Washington can align themselves to craft their strategies towards China both in terms of security and the economy.