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U.S.-Japan alliance being tested amid China’s rise, U.S.’s alleged isolationist approach

Monday’s Asahi published prominent front- and inside-page articles on Japan’s deployment of military assets to the Middle East for intelligence collection independent of the U.S.-led Operation Sentinel, claiming that Tokyo only chose to commit troops in response to repeated U.S. requests. An unnamed senior MOFA official was quoted as saying: “The bilateral alliance will be tested over host nation support and trade talks. It is necessary to show deference to the U.S.” The paper projected that the bilateral alliance will experience difficult moments due to what it described as the U.S.’s isolationist tendencies and to China’s growing economic and military presence. It also noted that Russia and China are anxious to stage military provocations by capitalizing on the apparent erosion of the trilateral partnership between the U.S., Japan, and South Korea. The paper quoted a Brookings Institution report released last October as saying: “American decision-makers need to remember that the Japan-U.S. alliance is an indispensable feature of America’s wider international strategy.” 

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