When Suga arrived Friday in Washington for his first meeting with Biden, it was unclear what to expect. Would it merely be an icebreaker for the two new leaders?

It turned out to be a lot more than that, writes Tobias Harris. The joint statement issued after the summit is nothing less than a complete re-imagining of the U.S.-Japan partnership for a new era, he writes. And for the first time, the governments named China as the preeminent challenge facing their alliance.

China was not happy. “Japan hasn’t learned its lessons,” the state-run Global Times thundered. “It formed an alliance with Germany and Italy before WWII and is now singing a chorus with the U.S.’ radical line.”

Biden and Japan's Suga project unity against China | REUTERS
Biden and Japan’s Suga project unity against China | REUTERS

In a commentary, Kuni Miyake counters that it is Beijing that needs to learn from Tokyo’s actions before the war, if it is to avoid a similar fate.

Returning to Japan-U.S. relations, this week saw the death of former Vice President Walter Mondale, who served as ambassador to Japan from 1993 to 1996. As Eric Johnston recalls, Mondale arrived just after Morihiro Hosokawa became the first non-Liberal Democratic Party prime minister in the postwar period. And Mondale would see three more PMs before his eventful tenure was up.