Nevertheless, the strong history of close economic and political relations, and increasingly common set of cultural values continues to provide robust support for continued bilateral political cooperation. This was the first time since the unification of Japan that the island nation had been occupied by a foreign power. The San Francisco Peace Treaty , signed on September 8, , marked the end of the Allied occupation, and when it went into effect on April 28, , Japan was once again an independent state, and an ally of the United States. Economic growth in the United States occurred and made the Automobile industry boom in In the years after World War II , Japan's relations with the United States were placed on an equal footing for the first time at the end of the occupation by the Allied forces in April This equality, the legal basis of which was laid down in the peace treaty signed by forty-eight Allied nations and Japan , was initially largely nominal.
A favorable Japanese balance of payments with the United States was achieved in , mainly as a result of United States military and aid spending in Japan.
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The Japanese people's feeling of dependence lessened gradually as the disastrous results of World War II subsided into the background and trade with the United States expanded. Self-confidence grew as the country applied its resources and organizational skill to regaining economic health. This situation gave rise to a general desire for greater independence from United States influence. During the s and s, this feeling was especially evident in the Japanese attitude toward United States military bases on the four main islands of Japan and in Okinawa Prefecture, occupying the southern two-thirds of the Ryukyu Islands.
The government had to balance left-wing pressure advocating dissociation from the United States allegedly 'against the realities' of the need for military protection. Recognizing the popular desire for the return of the Ryukyu Islands and the Bonin Islands also known as the Ogasawara Islands , the United States as early as relinquished its control of the Amami group of islands at the northern end of the Ryukyu Islands.
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But the United States made no commitment to return Okinawa, which was then under United States military administration for an indefinite period as provided in Article 3 of the peace treaty. Popular agitation culminated in a unanimous resolution adopted by the Diet in June , calling for a return of Okinawa to Japan.
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Bilateral talks on revising the security pact began in , and the new Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security was signed in Washington on January 19, When the pact was submitted to the Diet for ratification on February 5, it became the subject of bitter debate over the Japan—United States relationship and the occasion for violence in an all-out effort by the leftist opposition to prevent its passage.
It was finally approved by the House of Representatives on May Japan Socialist Party deputies boycotted the lower house session and tried to prevent the LDP deputies from entering the chamber; they were forcibly removed by the police. Massive demonstrations and rioting by students and trade unions followed. These outbursts prevented a scheduled visit to Japan by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and precipitated the resignation of Prime Minister Kishi Nobusuke , but not before the treaty was passed by default on June 19, when the House of Councillors failed to vote on the issue within the required thirty days after lower house approval.
Under the treaty, both parties assumed an obligation to assist each other in case of armed attack on territories under Japanese administration. It was understood, however, that Japan could not come to the defense of the United States because it was constitutionally forbidden to send armed forces overseas Article 9.
In particular, the constitution forbids the maintenance of "land, sea, and air forces. Accordingly, the Japanese find it difficult to send their "self-defense" forces overseas, even for peace-keeping purposes. The scope of the new treaty did not extend to the Ryukyu Islands, but an appended minute made clear that in case of an armed attack on the islands, both governments would consult and take appropriate action. Notes accompanying the treaty provided for prior consultation between the two governments before any major change occurred in the deployment of United States troops or equipment in Japan.
Unlike the security pact, the new treaty provided for a ten-year term, after which it could be revoked upon one year's notice by either party. The treaty included general provisions on the further development of international cooperation and on improved future economic cooperation. Both countries worked closely to fulfill the United States promise, under Article 3 of the peace treaty, to return all Japanese territories acquired by the United States in war. In , the Okinawa reversion issue and Japan's security ties with the United States became the focal points of partisan political campaigns.
In June , after eighteen months of negotiations, the two countries signed an agreement providing for the return of Okinawa to Japan in The Japanese government's firm and voluntary endorsement of the security treaty and the settlement of the Okinawa reversion question meant that two major political issues in Japan—United States relations were eliminated.
But new issues arose. In July , the Japanese government was surprised by Nixon's dramatic announcement of his forthcoming visit to the People's Republic of China. Many Japanese were chagrined by the failure of the United States to consult in advance with Japan before making such a fundamental change in foreign policy. The following month, the government was again surprised to learn that, without prior consultation, the United States had imposed a 10 percent surcharge on imports, a decision certain to hinder Japan's exports to the United States.
Relations between Tokyo and Washington were further strained by the monetary crisis involving the December revaluation of the Japanese yen. These events of marked the beginning of a new stage in relations, a period of adjustment to a changing world situation that was not without episodes of strain in both political and economic spheres, although the basic relationship remained close.
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The political issues between the two countries were essentially security-related and derived from efforts by the United States to induce Japan to contribute more to its own defense and to regional security. The economic issues tended to stem from the ever-widening United States trade and payments deficits with Japan, which began in when Japan reversed its imbalance in trade with the United States and, for the first time, achieved an export surplus. Heavy American military spending in the Korean War —53 and the Vietnam War —73 provided a major stimulus to the Japanese economy.
The United States withdrawal from Vietnam in and the end of the Vietnam War meant that the question of Japan's role in the security of East Asia and its contributions to its own defense became central topics in the dialogue between the two countries. American dissatisfaction with Japanese defense efforts began to surface in when Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger publicly stigmatized Japan. The Japanese government, constrained by constitutional limitations and strongly pacifist public opinion, responded slowly to pressures for a more rapid buildup of its Self-Defense Forces SDF.
It steadily increased its budgetary outlays for those forces, however, and indicated its willingness to shoulder more of the cost of maintaining the United States military bases in Japan. In the United States and Japan formally established a subcommittee for defense cooperation, in the framework of a bilateral Security Consultative Committee provided for under the security treaty.
This subcommittee, in turn, drew up new Guidelines for Japan-United States Defense Cooperation, under which military planners of the two countries have conducted studies relating to joint military action in the event of an armed attack on Japan. On the economic front, Japan sought to ease trade frictions by agreeing to Orderly Marketing Arrangements, which limited exports on products whose influx into the United States was creating political problems.
In an Orderly Marketing Arrangement limiting Japanese color television exports to the United States was signed, following the pattern of an earlier disposition of the textile problem.
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Steel exports to the United States were also curtailed, but the problems continued as disputes flared over United States restrictions on Japanese development of nuclear fuel- reprocessing facilities, Japanese restrictions on certain agricultural imports, such as beef and oranges, and liberalization of capital investment and government procurement within Japan. Under American pressure Japan worked toward a comprehensive security strategy with closer cooperation with the United States for a more reciprocal and autonomous basis. This policy was put to the test in November , when radical Iranians seized the United States embassy in Tehran, taking sixty hostages.
Japan reacted by condemning the action as a violation of international law. At the same time, Japanese trading firms and oil companies reportedly purchased Iranian oil that had become available when the United States banned oil imported from Iran. This action brought sharp criticism from the United States of Japanese government "insensitivity" for allowing the oil purchases and led to a Japanese apology and agreement to participate in sanctions against Iran in concert with other United States allies.
Following that incident, the Japanese government took greater care to support United States international policies designed to preserve stability and promote prosperity. Japan was prompt and effective in announcing and implementing sanctions against the Soviet Union following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December In , in response to United States requests, it accepted greater responsibility for defense of seas around Japan, pledged greater support for United States forces in Japan, and persisted with a steady buildup of the SDF. A qualitatively new stage of Japan-United States cooperation in world affairs appeared to be reached in late with the election of Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone.
Officials of the Ronald Reagan administration worked closely with their Japanese counterparts to develop a personal relationship between the two leaders based on their common security and international outlook.
President Reagan and Prime Minister enjoyed a particularly close relationship. Nakasone reassured United States leaders of Japan's determination against the Soviet threat, closely coordinated policies with the United States toward Asian trouble spots such as the Korean Peninsula and Southeast Asia, and worked cooperatively with the United States in developing China policy. The Japanese government welcomed the increase of American forces in Japan and the western Pacific, continued the steady buildup of the SDF, and positioned Japan firmly on the side of the United States against the threat of Soviet international expansion.
Japan continued to cooperate closely with United States policy in these areas following Nakasone's term of office, although the political leadership scandals in Japan in the late s i. Bush to establish the same kind of close personal ties that marked the Reagan years. A specific example of Japan's close cooperation with the United States included its quick response to the United States' call for greater host nation support from Japan following the rapid realignment of Japan-United States currencies in the mids. The currency realignment resulted in a rapid rise of United States costs in Japan, which the Japanese government, upon United States request, was willing to offset.
Another set of examples was provided by Japan's willingness to respond to United States requests for foreign assistance to countries considered of strategic importance to the West. During the s, United States officials voiced appreciation for Japan's "strategic aid" to countries such as Pakistan , Turkey , Egypt , and Jamaica. Prime Minister Kaifu Toshiki 's pledges of support for East European and Middle Eastern countries in fit the pattern of Japan's willingness to share greater responsibility for world stability. Another example of US-Japan cooperation is through energy cooperation.
Despite complaints from some Japanese businesses and diplomats, the Japanese government remained in basic agreement with United States policy toward China and Indochina.
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The government held back from large-scale aid efforts until conditions in China and Indochina were seen as more compatible with Japanese and United States interests. Of course, there also were instances of limited Japanese cooperation. Japan's response to the United States decision to help to protect tankers in the Persian Gulf during the Iran—Iraq War —88 was subject to mixed reviews. Some United States officials stressed the positive, noting that Japan was unable to send military forces because of constitutional reasons but compensated by supporting the construction of a navigation system in the Persian Gulf, providing greater host nation support for United States forces in Japan, and providing loans to Oman and Jordan.
Japan's refusal to join even in a mine-sweeping effort in the Persian Gulf was an indication to some United States officials of Tokyo's unwillingness to cooperate with the United States in areas of sensitivity to Japanese leaders at home or abroad. The main area of noncooperation with the United States in the s was Japanese resistance to repeated United States efforts to get Japan to open its market more to foreign goods and to change other economic practices seen as adverse to United States economic interests.
A common pattern was followed. The Japanese government was sensitive to political pressures from important domestic constituencies that would be hurt by greater openness. In general, these constituencies were of two types—those representing inefficient or "declining" producers, manufacturers, and distributors, who could not compete if faced with full foreign competition; and those up-and-coming industries that the Japanese government wished to protect from foreign competition until they could compete effectively on world markets.
To deal with domestic pressures while trying to avoid a break with the United States, the Japanese government engaged in protracted negotiations. This tactic bought time for declining industries to restructure themselves and new industries to grow stronger. Agreements reached dealt with some aspects of the problems, but it was common for trade or economic issues to be dragged out in talks over several years, involving more than one market-opening agreement. Such agreements were sometimes vague and subject to conflicting interpretations in Japan and the United States.
Growing interdependence was accompanied by markedly changing circumstances at home and abroad that were widely seen to have created a crisis in Japan—United States relations in the late s. United States government officials continued to emphasize the positive aspects of the relationship but warned that there was a need for "a new conceptual framework".
The Wall Street Journal publicized a series of lengthy reports documenting changes in the relationship in the late s and reviewing the considerable debate in Japan and the United States over whether a closely cooperative relationship was possible or appropriate for the s.
An authoritative review of popular and media opinion, published in by the Washington-based Commission on US-Japan Relations for the Twenty-first Century, was concerned with preserving a close Japan—United States relationship. It warned of a "new orthodoxy" of "suspicion, criticism and considerable self-justification", which it said was endangering the fabric of Japan—United States relations.
The relative economic power of Japan and the United States was undergoing sweeping change, especially in the s. The persisting United States trade and budget deficits of the early s led to a series of decisions in the middle of the decade that brought a major realignment of the value of Japanese and United States currencies.