20:40 GMT28 February 2021
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    The United States and Japan will maintain close relations when Donald Trump moves into the White House in January, political analysts told Sputnik, adding that even if the incoming administration pulls out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), both countries will still promote defense cooperation.

    Valery Kistanov, the head of the Center for Japanese Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that Washington needs Tokyo to counterbalance Beijing in the Asia Pacific.

    "It is important for the United States to keep Japan as an 'unsinkable aircraft carrier' in the region to counter China's influence. However, the US does not want Japan to turn into America's military and political adversary. Trump indicated that he was open to the idea of Japan acquiring nuclear weapons, but in reality no one is interested in letting the genie of Japanese militarism out of the bottle," he explained.

    Earlier, in March, Trump suggested that Japan and South Korea could go nuclear to protect themselves from North Korea, particularly if they do not pay more for US protection.

    "Article 5 of the [Security Treaty] between the US and Japan says that Americans must protect Japan, but not vice versa. This is what Trump had mentioned before the election. However, under Article 6 Americans are using the bases not only to protect Japan, but also to uphold peace and security in the Far East taking Washington's strategic interests into account. In other words, Americans are using these bases in their own interests."

    Yamagami Shingo, Director General of the Japan Institute of International Affairs, also confirmed that relations between the two countries are rock-solid and will hardly undergo dramatic changes.

    "Ties between Washington and Tokyo are notable for a high degree of trust. The core of these relations will remain unaltered regardless of who becomes the US president or the prime minister of Japan. There were times when some in Japan were protesting against the Security Treaty, but regardless of what party came to power, they were firmly in favor of keeping the pact," he said.

    Political analyst Vasily Kashin, a leading research fellow at the Institute of the Russian Far East, said that both countries need each other, adding that there are many "friends of Japan" in the US Congress, which will "limit" Trump's with regard to Tokyo.

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    Tags:
    bilateral relations, US foreign policy, foreign policy, defense cooperation, security cooperation, China, Japan, US
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