Challenges and Opportunities in US-Japan Relations

By United States–Japan Advisory Commission
September 1984

This report focuses on what was perceived to be a difficult transition in the Japan-US relationship in a changing international environment. The report, prepared by the United States-Japan Advisory Commission and submitted to the president of the United States and the prime minister of Japan in September 1984, finds that the relationship had failed to adequately reflect the vast changes in the relative capabilities of the two powers throughout the previous two decades. The report notes that despite the differences in historical development, cultural patterns, and natural-resource endowments and the homogeneity of the Japanese people compared with the diversity of the American people, the two societies are regarded as having more in common than at any time before the report.

Specific issues examined include trade flow, market access, agricultural and forestry trade, trade in services, exchange rates and capital markets, investment, industrial policy, and energy. In the area of global security, the commission finds that the friction over trade matters has not affected this all-important aspect of relations between the two powers and saw no evidence that the trend to closer collaboration was likely to be reversed. With regard to science and technology, new areas thought to merit fresh emphasis include the fifth-generation computer, machine translation, research into high-energy physics, fast-breeder reactors, research into life sciences and cancer, and the development of scientific and engineering standards. In communications, the commission concludes that the relationship involved elements of both competition and cooperation, that the management of the relationship had become more complex, that more people on both sides of the Pacific should be aware of the shared values and aspirations of the two countries, and that there is a more extensive need to disseminate information given the growing number of people involved in Japanese-American affairs.


  1. Significance of the Relationship
  2. The Economic Partnership
  3. Collaboration for Global Peace and Security
  4. Science and Technology
  5. Communication
  6. Conclusion: The Need for Partnership
Copyright © 1984 United States-Japan Advisory Commission, Tokyo, Washington DC. All Rights Reserved.