TIPSHEET: Japan’s likely new prime minister will be strong U.S. ally: Vanderbilt expert

The stage is set for Shinzo Abe to become Japan’s new Prime Minister Sept. 26 following his election as the leader of the country’s ruling party. That choice bodes well for the U.S., says James Auer, Vanderbilt University expert on U.S.-Japan relations. Abe will prove to be an even stronger ally to the U.S. than the popular outgoing Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, said Auer, director of the Center for U.S.-Japan Studies and Cooperation at Vanderbilt. “He favors changing Japan’s defense policy so that Japan can fight with the U.S. if U.S. forces are attacked, something not allowed now.” Currently Japan cannot help the U.S. unless Japan’s territory is attacked. Concerning North Korea, Abe is “much more resolute that North Korea must end its nuclear weapons program and proliferation if it wants to receive economic assistance from Japan,” the former naval commander said. Auer was stationed in Japan and the Western Pacific during his naval career and was the special assistant for Japan with the office of the Secretary of Defense. He has written numerous articles and made a number of presentations addressing East Asian security and defense policies. Auer has known Abe for almost 10 years.

(To reach James Auer, call the 24/7 News Service office at 615-322-NEWS.)

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