Does Japan Still Matter?

The Tokyo Foundation organized a dialogue with the US German Marshall Fund titled “What Does Japan Think?” in Tokyo in December 2009 with the aim of promoting mutual understanding among Japan, the United States, and Europe. Western journalists and others were invited to Japan to exchange views with Japanese opinion leaders and to deepen their understanding of the shifts taking place in Japan following last year’s change of government.

Washington Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt wrote the following article, asserting that Japan still does matter despite pervading “gloom, doom and pessimism” after returning from his visit. (Published December 11, 2009)

U.S.-Japan relations are in "crisis," Japan's foreign minister told me Thursday -- but I would guess that few Americans have noticed, let alone felt alarm. As China rises, Japan's economy has stalled, and its population is dwindling. The island nation -- feared during the last century first as a military power, then as an economic conqueror -- barely registers in the American imagination.

Fred Hiatt

  • Editional Page Editor,
    Washington Post