George W. Bush was inaugurated as the new president of the United States on 20 January 2001. How will the change in personnel influence Washington's approach to its relationship with East Asia and, in particular, with Japan? Takashi Oka, a Washington-based consultant to the Liberal Party of Japan who was for many years a correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor, considers this question in the following article. Oka argues that the strategic importance of the US-Japan alliance has not lessened with the end of the Cold War,and that in order to confront the security challenges of the twenty-first century, Japan's position within the US-Japan alliance needs to change from that of a protected subordinate to that of an equal partner. For this to be possible, a politician with sufficient vision and power, someone with a clear foreign policy, who is strong enough in domestic politics to carry out that policy, needs to emerge in Japan.