Japan is a significant partner of the United States in a number of foreign policy areas, particularly in security concerns, which range from hedging against Chinese military modernization to countering threats from North Korea. The U. Although candidate Donald Trump made statements critical of Japan during his campaign, relations have remained strong, at least on the surface, throughout several visits and his meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Japan is worried about the U. Contentious trade issues have also resurfaced. Tensions in the trade relationship have increased under the Trump Administration with renewed focus on the bilateral U.
Relations began in the late 18th and early 19th century, with the diplomatic but force-backed missions of U. Perry to the Tokugawa shogunate. The countries maintained relatively cordial relations after that. Potential disputes were resolved.
Unlike in the occupation of Germany , the Soviet Union was allowed little to no influence over Japan. This foreign presence marks the only time in Japan's history that it has been occupied by a foreign power. The wartime cabinet was replaced with a cabinet acceptable to the Allies and committed to implementing the terms of the Potsdam Declaration , which among other things called for the country to become a parliamentary democracy. Under MacArthur's guidance, the Japanese government introduced sweeping social reforms and implemented economic reforms that recalled American " New Deal " priorities of the s under President Roosevelt. Japan surrendered to the Allies on August 14, , when the Japanese government notified the Allies that it had accepted the Potsdam Declaration.
The United States and Japan share common perceptions toward China and East Asia, similar goals, and common approaches to addressing regional issues. However, the geopolitical contexts of their respective relationships with China are different, and perception or policy gaps sometimes crop up. Both countries need to recognize this possibility and protect against the potential negative impacts. Japanese perceptions have become so negative that more than 80 percent of the Japanese public does not feel any affinity toward China. At the same time, more than 80 percent of them still view the Japan-China relationship and its future development as important.