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H. D. P. Envall, ‘Japan: From Passive Partner to Active Ally’, in Michael Wesley, ed., Global Allies: Comparing US Alliances in the 21st Century, Canberra: ANU Press, 2017, pp. 15-30.
The US-Japan alliance is the foundation of America’s role as a ‘Pacific’ power, and has remained largely intact over the last 65 years. This continuity, however, has begun to give way over the past decade, especially in terms of how Japan envisages the alliance. This chapter seeks to understand how, in terms of domestic politics, Japan has approached its role in the alliance. It also examines how Japan has managed its engagement of the wider regional context, especially in terms of the biggest change to the region - the rise of China. The chapter examines the evolution of these two dimensions across three periods - the Cold War, the post-Cold War until 2010, and the newly contested order since 2010 characterised by the rise of a more assertive China.