A selection of news and features spotlighting the Japan-U.S. relationship from five angles, from defense to sister-city ties:

On defense: Japan and the U.S. settled on an unusual one-year agreement on Tokyo’s share of costs for hosting American troops Wednesday. As Jesse Johnston and Satoshi Sugiyama report, the deal will buy time for both sides as they wrestle with the COVID-19 pandemic, but the U.S. is expected to ask for more money next time around.

In diplomacy: Finance Minister Taro Aso said that he and new U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen agreed to work together to address the economic fallout from the pandemic in talks earlier this month. While Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi had to put off his planned visit to the U.S. due to the ongoing crisis, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is reportedly considering a trip to Japan next month.

Oral History: Daniel Inouye | THE NATIONAL WWII MUSEUM
Oral History: Daniel Inouye | THE NATIONAL WWII MUSEUM

In space: the two allies have agreed to equip Japanese satellites with U.S. sensors to monitor space debris as part of their security cooperation in outer space. The foreign ministry said in December that this is the first time Japan has agreed to carry equipment from another country on its satellites for defense purposes.

At the local level: Japan and the U.S. share more sister-city relationships with each other than with any other country, notes Robert D Eldridge. And while you might expect such ties to have suffered with the cancellation of exchange trips, in fact the coronavirus crisis has brought some sister cities closer — virtually, at least.

And finally: A bust commemorating the legacy of Daniel Inouye (1924-2012), the first Japanese-American member of the U.S. Congress, is to be erected in his ancestral home in Fukuoka Prefecture in March. The decorated World War II vet was known as a strong advocate for the rights of minorities and justice for Japanese Americans sent to internment camps during the war.