U.S-Japan Relations under Trump and Abe

Panel Discussion at the Sasakawa Security Forum

On May 2, 2017, ASPI’s Senior Fellow and Diplomat in Residence Daniel Russel, who previously served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, spoke at the Sasakawa Fourth Annual Security Forum in Washington about potential points of friction in the U.S.-Japan alliance.

The panel, entitled “Asia Policy under the Trump and Abe Administrations,” also included Matthew Pottinger, Senior Director of Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, Yoichi Funabashi, Co-Founder and Chairman of The Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, and Kenichiro Sasae, Ambassador of Japan to the United States. James Zumwalt, CEO of Sasakawa USA, moderated the discussion.

Russel identified six key problematic areas in the U.S.-Japan relationship that must be managed. “Trade relations and the aftermath of TPP” is the first mentioned, followed by “U.S. forces realignment in Okinawa,” North Korea, relations with China, the Senkaku Islands, and Japan-Korea relations.

Russel emphasized that “the value of the U.S.-Japan alliance to the United States, just in a cold-blooded, selfish way, is inestimable.” Though the Obama administration “went out on a high note in terms of the U.S.-Japan relationship,” Russel pointed out that the Trump administration has “grabbed the reins” and has moved quickly to advance the relationship further. (2hour, 36 min, 08 sec.)

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