Patrick Ventrell, State Department Acting Deputy Spokesman, said in a statement on Wednesday that the United States will exert efforts to have a close relationship with the new Japanese government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “We look forward to continuing our close relationship with Japan and its new Prime Minister and Cabinet,” he said. “Our two countries share many regional and global interests, and we will continue to pursue our cooperative and productive ties.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta likewise congratulated Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s new Defense Minister, and added that the U.S.-Japan alliance “serves as the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific.” Some experts believe that Washington will support Abe’s policy for a better and mutually beneficial security alliance. According to Mike Mochizuki, associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, “Although the United States has recommitted itself to Asian security through its so-called ‘rebalancing policy’, the more Japan can contribute to regional security the better.” He adds that “because U.S. faces severe fiscal constraints at home, it naturally looks to allies and friends like Japan to help out.”
As regards the Futenma Air Station issue, Mochizuki believes that it “will be a difficult challenge for the LDP government as it was for the DPJ government” because it would be “politically difficult if not impossible” to move the entire base from a densely populated area in Ginowan to a less populated Henoko district of Nago.