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U.S. Pressures Japan on Military Package

For more than 50 years Japan has been the United States’ closest and most constant military ally. But since the Democratic Party of Japan took over the government after 50 years of one party rule, it has begun to publicly challenge the United States regarding its military alliance.

Since last week DPJ officials withdrew from an 8-year-old agreement to refuel U.S. warships in the Indian Oceean that support the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. They have also announced plans to reopen negotiations on a deal reached between the U.S. and Japan to relocate a U.S. Marine base from Japan to Guam.

The DPJ rose to power by promising to be more assertive in Japan’s relations with the United States. Earlier this month, when a Pentagon spokeman demanded that Japan continue the refueling operation in the Indian Ocean, Japan’s U.S. ambassador responded that the decicion was “up to Japan” and that Japan and the U.S. are “not on such terms where we talk through spokespeople.” On Monday, Japan’s foreign minister announced that the mission would end in January.


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