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Independent Study Paper Skye Wallin

Independent Study Paper Skye Wallin - Skye Wallin...

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Skye Wallin November 16, 2007 Independent Study Paper Study on the U.S.-Japan Military Relationship from 1951-Present In February of 2005, the United States and Japan jointly agreed that Taiwan is a “mutual security concern”—a move to challenge the aggressive growth of China (which claims sovereignty over the island). 1 This announcement caused uproar in Beijing, and is telling of how Japan has become a true ally of the U.S., and is becoming more aggressive in its foreign policy. Beginning in the decade following World War II, Japan became completely reliant on the United States both economically and militarily. In return, the Japanese were the reluctant supporters of U.S. policies 2 —this was, to a certain extent, a forced alliance by the U.S. During the 80s, with the heightening tension of the Cold War, however, the two countries “began real military cooperation,” and became full-fledged allies. 3 Today, the U.S.-Japan military alliance is a very significant one—Japan is breaking from its military restrictions and emerging as a major force in the international community. Following the Security Treaty of 1951—which officially ended the U.S. occupation of Japan—the American government sought to include Japan in its fight against the spread of communism in East Asia. 4 The “United States wanted Japan to be an active military and economic ally to combat Asian communism.” 5 Though Japan gladly accepted “the security and economic benefits of U.S. containment” policy, it was 1 “Japan to Join U.S. Policy on Taiwan” 2 Partnership , 13 3 Ibid. 137 4 Mayumi, 313 5 Partnership , 13
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still reluctant to fully embrace the strategy. In fact, Japan breached the boundaries of containment (against the will of the U.S.) with the intention of improving its economy by expanding trade with China. 6 Following the 1950 North Korean invasion of South Korea—a communist effort to unite the country—the United States devised a counter-strategy, which involved restructuring the Japanese economy and rearming the military so that it could assist with force if necessary. 7 There was also a sense that Japan needed to be protected from the Communists—the fall of China in 1949 and the outbreak of the Korean War brought about much attention to this point. For the purposes of protecting Japan and utilizing the island’s strategic potential, a serious effort to reconstruct the Japanese armed forces went underway.
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