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Backgrounds: Japan US Relations
The U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of U.S. security interests in Asia and is fundamental to regional stability and prosperity. Despite the changes in the post-Cold War strategic landscape, the U.S.-Japan alliance continues to be based on shared vital interests and values. These include stability in the Asia-Pacific region, the preservation and promotion of political and economic freedoms, support for human rights and democratic institutions, and securing of prosperity for people of the United States and other people of the region.
Japan provides bases and financial and material support to U.S. forward-deployed forces, which are essential for maintaining stability in the region. Under the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, Japan hosts a carrier battle group, the III Marine Expeditionary Force, the 5th Air Force, and the Army's 9th Theater Support Command. The United States currently maintains approximately 53,000 troops in Japan, approximately half of whom are stationed in Okinawa.
Over the past several years the alliance has been strengthened through revised Defense Guidelines, which expand Japan's noncombat role in a regional contingency, the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) program to consolidate U.S. military presence in Okinawa, the 2001 5-year agreement on Host Nation Support of U.S. forces stationed in Japan, and technical cooperation on ballistic missile defense. After the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Japan has participated significantly with the Global War on Terrorism by providing major logistical support for U.S. and coalition forces in the Indian Ocean. Japan also has played a leading role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, as well as in the political and economic rehabilitation of Iraq. Their efforts include the passage of historic legislation allowing Japan's Self-Defense Forces to participate in reconstruction and humanitarian missions to Iraq.
As the world's second-largest industrial economy, Japan is a welcome partner in managing international economic issues as well as a critical bilateral trade partner. Japan is the United States' third-largest trading partner and its best market for aircraft, software, and agricultural products.
The United States has two major goals in its economic relations with Japan: to promote sustainable demand-led growth and to improve market access for U.S. goods and services. At their June 30, 2001 Camp David Summit, President Bush and Prime Minister Koizumi announced the U.S.-Japan Economic Partnership for Growth, which establishes a structure for cooperation and engagement on bilateral, regional, and global economic and trade issues. The Partnership aims to promote sustainable growth by focusing on structural and regulatory reform, foreign investment, accelerated bank and corporate restructuring, market opening, and better use of information technology. The Partnership has involved the private sector in identifying problems and solutions.
Because of the two countries' combined economic and technological impact on the world, the U.S.-Japan relationship has become global in scope. The United States and Japan cooperate on a broad range of global issues, including development assistance combating communicable disease such as the spread of HIV/AIDS, and protecting the environment and natural resources. Both countries also collaborate in science and technology in such areas as mapping the human genome, research on aging, and international space exploration. As Asia's most successful democracy and largest economy, Japan contributes irreplaceable political, financial, and moral support to U.S.-Japan diplomatic efforts. The United States consults closely with Japan and the Republic of Korea on policy regarding North Korea. In Southeast Asia, U.S.-Japan cooperation is vital for stability and for the process of political and economic reform. Outside Asia, Japanese political and financial support has substantially strengthened the U.S. position on a variety of global geopolitical problems, including the Gulf, Middle East peace efforts, and the Balkans. Japan is an indispensable partner on UN reform, and broadly supports the United States on nonproliferation and nuclear issues.
Japan is a major market for many U.S. manufactured goods, including chemicals, pharmaceuticals, photo supplies, commercial aircraft, nonferrous metals, plastics, and medical and scientific supplies. Japan also is the largest foreign market for U.S. agricultural products, with total agricultural exports valued at $9.5 billion, excluding forestry products.
Though bilateral trade increased dramatically over the decade, the recent year brought a decrease in both exports to and imports from Japan. U.S. exports to Japan reached just over $51 billion in 2002, down from $65 billion in 2001. U.S. imports from Japan were about $121 billion in 2002, down from $146 billion in 2000.
The U.S. also has held discussions with Japan to address the structural features of the Japanese economy that impede the inflow of foreign direct investment. Japan continues to host a far smaller share of global foreign direct investment than any of its G-7 counterparts. U.S. discussions with Japan aim to improve the environment for mergers and acquisitions so that U.S. firms can establish a presence in Japan without having to build one from the ground up; to recruit qualified Japanese employees; and to cut entry costs for U.S. firms by promoting the efficiency of the land market.
U.S. foreign direct investment in Japan reached $65.6 billion in 2002, up from $58.2 billion in 2001. New U.S. investment was especially significant in financial services, internet services, and software, generating new export opportunities for U.S. firms and employment for U.S. workers.
The street address and the international mailing address of the U.S. Embassy in Japan is 10-5 Akasaka 1-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo (107); tel. 81-3-3224-5000; fax 81-3-3505-1862. The APO mailing address is American Embassy Tokyo, Unit 45004, Box 258, APO AP 96337-5004. U.S. Consulates General are in Osaka, Sapporo, and Naha, and Consulates are in Fukuoka and Nagoya. The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan is at 7th floor, Fukide No. 2 Bldg., 1-21 Toranomon 4-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo (105). Additional information is available on the U.S. Embassy's Internet home page: http://tokyo.usembassy.gov.
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