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Policy Backgrounders

CED’s Policy Backgrounders provide timely insights on prominent business and economic policy issues facing the nation.

US-Japan State Visit and Indo-Pacific Security

April 12, 2024

Trusted Insights for What’s Ahead™

The President hosted Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan for a state visit; the leaders were later joined by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., for a trilateral summit. The visit marked a new and significantly deeper phase in the US-Japan alliance, with concerns over Indo-Pacific security leading to far closer US-Japan defense ties and a reaffirmation of the US treaty commitment to the Philippines.

  • The US and Japan will take significant steps towards joint operational capability, both in peacetime and in the event of conflict.
  • Japan will not join the AUKUS grouping with Australia and the UK but will likely participate with AUKUS in several aspects of advanced defense capability such as AI and hypersonics.
  • The US describes the emerging pattern of bilateral and multilateral relationships in the region as a “latticework”—a term likely chosen deliberately.
  • The economic relationship with Japan remains very strong. The leaders kept the proposed takeover of US Steel by Nippon Steel off the agenda; a decision on that is expected late this year.
  • Besides Taiwan and North Korea, tension in the East and South China Seas was high on the agenda, with the US reaffirming its commitment to defend Japanese territory in the East China Sea and strongly supporting the Philippines’ claim to its exclusive economic zone, a portion of the South China Sea which has seen increasing clashes between Chinese coast guard ships and Philippine vessels.

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