April 28, 2015

Abe primed to shine in Washington’s limelight

Featuring Patrick M. Cronin

The bar is set low for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s April 29 speech at a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage says everyone will be “looking to see if Mr. Abe can put history behind him.” In his view, the key is speaking sincerely rather than repeating specific words.

The odds are thus stacked in the prime minister’s favor, as Washington is pleased that Abe is positioning Japan to become America’s deputy sheriff in the region, and is eager for Japan to join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). In matters of security and trade, the threat from China is driving U.S. policy in Asia, and on this Japan is a valued ally.

But some of Japan’s friends think Abe has to go beyond sincerity.

“Mr. Abe is giving Japan’s foreign policy its most extensive face-lift since Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida,” wrote Columbia University professor Gerald Curtis in The Wall Street Journal. “But there is something missing here, and that is … empathy and boldness to bring about reconciliation with China and Korea.”

Read the full article at Japan Times.


  • Patrick M. Cronin

    Former Senior Advisor and Senior Director, Asia-Pacific Security Program

    Patrick M. Cronin is a former Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Previously, he was the ...