Japan’s Unrequited Love for the United States

日本 Japan 米国 the United States

Japanese journalist Takashi Uesugi describes Japan’s attitude toward the United States as “unrequited love” for the US. That is to say, the United States is a very important partner to Japan, but for the US, Japan is not as important as Japan thinks. For the US, Japan is just one of many of its allies in Asia and is just as important as countries such as South Korea, the Philippines, or Indonesia. He argues that the most important foreign countries for the United States are the UK and Israel. The UK has strong historical and cultural ties to the United States and Israel has been a long-time strategic partner for the US.

For the US, Japan is one of its four allies in Asia.

For the US, the most important foreign allies are the UK and Israel, and domestic issues are more important than the allied nations in Asia.

Uesugi argues that the Japanese have had unrequited love for the United States for a long time, but it became much more evident when Prime Minister Abe visited the United States in April. Abe’s visit was significant for Japan since he met with President Obama gave a speech during a joint session of Congress. Uesugi argued that during this visit, Japan exhibited unrequited love both in its diplomacy and the Japanese media’s coverage of the visit.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs made thorough preparations for this visit and many important diplomats accompanied Abe on the visit. Uesugi acknowledged that Abe’s excessive enthusiasm in his diplomacy was quite understandable, since diplomatic successes would be important for Japan. However, Uesugi lamented that the unrequited love exhibited by the Japanese media. While Abe was in the US, Japanese media outlets reported the events of the visit as top news, especially Abe’s speech on April 29 before a joint session of Congress. That was reported on the first pages of major newspapers since it was the first time that a Japanese prime minister had addressed a joint session. However, in US media outlets, the top news was the outbreak of riots in Baltimore, Maryland after an African American man died in police custody. Abe’s speech was reported in the Asian Pacific section of New York Times International as one of many other articles about the region. In the Washington Post, the speech was covered more deeply than in the New York Times, but still, it was not reported as a top news story. As far as Uesugi could see, CNN did not even report Abe’s speech when it happened, on April 29.

He argues that this is the reality of the relationship between Japan and the United States: it’s one of unrequited love. Japan is more enthusiastic and thinks constantly of the US, and Japan assumes that the US has the same attitude about Japan. The reality is that the US is less interested in Japan and the relationship is one-sided, but Japan has not realized this. Uesugi claims that it is important for Japan to wake up and accept reality, because if a major conflict were to arise between the two allies, Japan would think “we loved each other so much, so why are you suddenly becoming so cold to me today?” and then panic. Uesugi then urged Japanese officials and media to wake up and accept the truth in order to avoid any political conflicts that may arise between the two nations.

米国 The U.S. 韓国 South Korea, インドネシア Indonesia, フィリピン Philippines, 日本 Japan

米国 The U.S.    英国 The UK   イスラエル Israel
国内 Domestic Issues

(Source: NO BORDER, Tokyo MX TV, www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfOdAdT3N1U)

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