New Japan-China Relations and the Corresponding Positioning of the United States—History, Values, Realism in a Changing World
After more than a decade of deterioration in the relations between Japan and China symbolized by the visit of then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to Yasukuni Shrine, the relationship finally turned around in 2006-2007 into a qualitatively different one preparing for a new regional order. This was made possible mainly by the realistic perceptional change of the Japanese public on the regional security environment and the corresponding policy change of the Chinese Government on Japan-related histoty. The USA, as an essential stakeholder in Japan-China relations, also has to change itself in order to maintain its presence and interests in Asia and grasp a golden opportunity to build a more stable regional and international order given the drastic change in Japan-China relations which are still fragile due to structural problems. To this end, the USA needs to reevaluate and understand well the changing Japanese perception of history and of the severe security situation around Japan. Also, a Japan-USA-China trilateral partnership framework is now necessary to create a more stable Asian order by a USA initiative.