Rethinking an Alliance

Junji Kurokawa / AP

Brothers in arms
Joint military exercises earlier this year

After Japan's momentous election on Aug. 30, when the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) hammered the long-serving Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), both American and Japanese commentators picked up on a remark by Prime Minister – in-waiting Yukio Hatoyama that there needed to be more "balance" in the U.S.-Japan relationship, read an article in which Hatoyama criticized the U.S. and wondered about the solidity of the alliance between Tokyo and Washington. Then Hatoyama called U.S. President Barack Obama and told him that of course — of course! — the alliance was the bedrock of Japanese foreign policy, and...

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