Today, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe touches down in Boston for the first leg of an eight-day visit to the United States, which will include an April 28 summit meeting with President Barack Obama, as well as an April 29 address to a joint meeting of Congress. The summit’s ambitious agenda will highlight the increasingly close ties between Washington and Tokyo, with significant progress likely to be made on trade issues and revisions to bilateral defense guidelines.
Another major objective for Prime Minster Abe will be to focus public attention on Japan’s global citizenship since World War II and to cast a forward-looking agenda for bilateral cooperation. While the focus for Prime Minster Abe and President Obama will likely be acute challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, they also should use this moment to think about how the United States and Japan can collaborate to promote inclusive prosperity and environmental stability not just in Asia but also globally. Given the two nations’ shared values and a commitment to human rights, human security, democracy, economic opportunity, and confronting climate change, this should be natural. With both nations wielding substantial clout in the United Nations, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the G-7, the G-20, and other critical elements of the global order, it is also practical. Elevating collaboration in these forums as a top pillar in bilateral relations should be a priority for both sides.
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