More information about Japan is available on the Japan Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
Japan is one of the world’s most successful democracies and largest economies. The U.S.-Japan Alliance is the cornerstone of U.S. security interests in Asia and is fundamental to regional stability and prosperity. The Alliance is based on shared vital interests and values, including: the maintenance of stability in the Indo-Pacific region: the preservation and promotion of political and economic freedoms; support for human rights and democratic institutions; and, the expansion of prosperity for the people of both countries and the international community as a whole.
The U.S.-Japan Alliance was strengthened in 2015 through the release of the revised U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines, which provide for new and expanded forms of security-oriented cooperation. Japan provides bases as well as financial and material support to U.S. forward-deployed forces, which are essential for maintaining stability in the region. In January 2016 the United States and Japan signed a new five-year package of host nation support for U.S. forces in Japan. In December 2016, the United States returned a major portion of the Northern Training Area, nearly 10,000 acres, reducing the amount of land utilized by the United States on Okinawa by close to 20 percent.
Because of the two countries’ combined economic and diplomatic impact on the world, the U.S.-Japan relationship has become global in scope. The United States and Japan cooperate on a broad range of global issues, including development assistance, global health, environmental and resource protection, and women’s empowerment. The countries also collaborate in science and technology in such areas as brain science, aging, infectious disease, personalized medicine, and international space exploration. We are working intensively to expand already strong people-to-people ties in education, science, and other areas.
Japan and the United States collaborate closely on international diplomatic initiatives. The United States consults with Japan and the Republic of Korea on policy regarding North Korea. The United States coordinates with Japan and Australia under the auspices of the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue and the Security and Defense Cooperation Forum. The United States and Japan coordinate with India trilaterally and in the U.S.-Australia-India-Japan Consultations. In Southeast Asia, U.S.-Japan cooperation advances maritime security and economic development. Outside Asia, Japanese political and financial support has significantly assisted U.S. efforts on a variety of global issues arising, including countering ISIL and terrorism, working to stop the spread of the Ebola and other emerging pandemic infections, advancing environmental goals, maintaining solidarity in the face of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, assisting developing countries, countering piracy, and standing up for human rights and democracy. Japan is an indispensable partner in the United Nations and the second-largest contributor to the UN budget. Japan broadly supports the United States on nonproliferation and nuclear issues.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Japan in 1858. During World War II, diplomatic relations between the United States and Japan were severed in the context of the war that followed Japan’s 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After years of fighting in the Pacific region, Japan signed an instrument of surrender in 1945. Normal diplomatic relations were reestablished in 1952, when the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, which had overseen the postwar Allied occupation of Japan since 1945, disbanded. The Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States was signed in 1960.
U.S. Assistance to Japan
The United States provides no development assistance to Japan.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The U.S.-Japan bilateral relationship features substantial trade and investment flows. However, the United States’ goods trade deficit with Japan is its third-largest one in the world. U.S. economic policy toward Japan seeks to address this trade deficit through free, fair, and reciprocal trade. In particular, the United States aims to expand access to Japan’s markets, increase two-way investment, stimulate domestic demand-led economic growth, promote economic restructuring, improve the climate for U.S. investors, and raise the standard of living in both countries. Japan represents a major market for many U.S. goods and services, including agricultural products, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, films and music, commercial aircraft, nonferrous metals, plastics, medical and scientific supplies, and machinery. U.S. imports from Japan include vehicles, machinery, optic and medical instruments, and organic chemicals. U.S. direct investment in Japan is mostly in the finance/insurance, manufacturing, and wholesale sectors. Japanese direct investment in the United States is mostly in the wholesale trade and manufacturing sectors.
Science and Technology Cooperation
The U.S.-Japan partnership in the areas of science and technology covers a broad array of complex issues facing our two countries and the global community. Under the auspices of the U.S.-Japan Science and Technology Agreement, our two countries have collaborated for over 25 years on scientific research in areas such as new energy technologies, supercomputing, and critical materials. In recognition of these achievements, the United States and Japan announced in 2014 an extension of our bilateral Science and Technology Agreement for an additional 10 years. The U.S.-Japan Comprehensive Dialogue on Space reflects our deepening cooperation in space. On January 11, 2016, both countries celebrated the 50thanniversary of the U.S.-Japan Cooperative Medical Sciences Program, which has grown over time to encompass attention to health threats affecting other Pacific Rim nations, particularly in Southeast Asia.
Japan’s Membership in International Organizations
Japan and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, G7, G-20, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, ASEAN Regional Forum, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Japan is also a Partner for Cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and an observer to the Organization of American States. In 2019, Japan will assume the G-20 presidency and host numerous ministerial meetings as well as the G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Japan.
The U.S. Ambassador to Japan is William F. Hagerty IV. Principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List
Japan maintains an embassy in the United States at 2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel: 202-238-6700).
More information about Japan is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
CIA World Factbook Japan Page
History of U.S. Relations With Japan
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies