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The Contradictory Nature of U.S.-Japan Relations

MIN READMay 30, 2019 | 05:30 GMT

A print depicting U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry arriving in Japan in 1853.

A print depicting U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry arriving in Japan in 1853. Japan is a critical component of U.S. defense architecture in the Indo-Pacific, but it is also a strategic economic competitor with the United States.

(UNIVERSAL HISTORY ARCHIVE/UIG via Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump's Memorial Day weekend visit to Japan serves as a reminder of the complex relationship between the United States and Japan. In addition to ceremonial events, meeting the new emperor and visiting U.S. military personnel, Trump held discussions with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about trade frictions (driven by the United States' nearly $68 billion trade deficit with Japan) and regional security concerns ranging from North Korea to China to Iran. This contrast between bilateral trade competition and mutual security cooperation in many ways exemplifies the modern U.S.-Japan relationship....

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