When Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's last trip to Washington was announced as his tenure draws to a close, some in the Japanese media ridiculed it as a graduation trip, saying it was "just for making memories," or asking, "why is he even going in the first place?”

Since the “Quad” summit was successfully held at the White House last week, however, such criticisms have subsided.

In retrospect, Tokyo has witnessed several significant political, economic and military developments over the past month following the full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. The strategic environment surrounding the Indo-Pacific region seems to have dramatically changed once again.