- NBR - The National Bureau of Asian Research

What is the U.S.-Japan Alliance About?

Tomohito Shinoda

The issues surrounding North Korea and Iraq have almost completely dominated public and media attention recently. These developments have brought both challenges and opportunities for Japan as well as the U.S.-Japan Alliance.

The Japanese government has expressed its support for the U.S. government on Iraq issues, but has also encouraged the United States to gain international support by passing a new UN resolution. According to Asahi Shimbun opinion polls conducted in early 2003, 78 percent of Japanese respondents were opposed to a U.S. attack on Iraq. However, a careful look on the poll data reveals that 55 percent expressed their support for the U.S. attack on Iraq after the passage of another UN resolution. This shows that Japan’s government policy on this issue was in line with public thinking. On March 5, 2003, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi firmly stated his political determination to pursue the government policy of supporting U.S. actions by stating, "If political decisions are made based on public opinion, mistakes may be made. That has been demonstrated by history."