Japan should also reach out to South Korea and demonstrate more flexibility in an effort to resolve the two countries’ long-standing maritime border dispute.
The US and Japan must make it clear that China’s provocative behavior in the East China Sea is unacceptable, while highlighting China’s obligation to help rein in North Korea’s nuclear program.
If this demonstration of shared values does not alter China’s behavior, a wider conversation would likely begin in Japan about the potential revision of Article 9 of the 1947 Constitution, which essentially denies Japan the ability to maintain armed forces like other “normal” countries.
This week, US President Barack Obama and Abe should reaffirm their country’s bilateral alliance, the principles it is based on and commit to ever-closer military and strategic collaboration. If the countries work to tackle their domestic problems, and strengthen the alliance that binds them, the partnership could be as significant in the future as it has been in the past.
Jamie Metzl, a member of former US president Bill Clinton’s National Security Council, is a Senior Fellow of the Asia Society.
Copyright: Project Syndicate