The Japanese-American partnership, so long taken for granted, is today threatened by a deep division of American opinion between the “Japanophiles” and the Japan critics. The extremism of each group stems from a sentimental attitude which grew up in the early postwar period, that Japan and America have a “special” relationship outside the normal dynamics of the international system. Reviewing the history of this relationship since the end of the Occupation, the author finds it rather to have been characterized by a bargaining process common between any two allies, in which the outcomes have been heavily influenced by the changing degree of their interdependence. This interpretation supports the forecast of a continuation of the alliance, which the author believes is vital to both countries, but only if romantic notions are given up and replaced by a more realistic appreciation of the dynamics that govern the relationship.

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