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Commentary: PM Abe maintains strong Japan-U.S. relationship: Prof. Auer

By James E. Auer, professor emeritus at Vanderbilt University

 

Compared with successive prime ministers, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe excels in the four areas of stability, ability, sustainability and moderation. He is “hawkish” but strives to gain understanding for the necessity to maintain  good relations with China and Russia from support groups who are critical of the two neighbors. I give him high marks for taking plenty of time to gain the people’s understanding for constitutional amendment and increasing the defense budget.

 

After former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, Abe is the most well-known Japanese prime minister in the U.S. Even Americans critical of President Donald Trump support PM Abe’s successful enactment of the security legislation that allows Japan the limited exercise of the right of collective self-defense and his conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin respect Abe for his maintaining a very good relationship with President Trump and a solid Japan-U.S. relationship.

 

Should the Japan-U.S. relationship continue stably, the prime minister will have no weaknesses. If Japan further increases its defense spending by 1% of GDP and both Japan and the U.S. lead the world in the cyber domain,  deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region will be greatly increased. That will keep the South China Sea free and open and back democracy in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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