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The US-Japan alliance is the longest, most stable, and most indispensable alliance in the modern history of East Asia. It has served as the foundation for the region's security structure for well over a half-century. However, with China's emergence as a rising economic and military power, and given territorial disputes involving China, Japan, and South Korea, and with escalating nationalistic rhetoric and fundamental disagreements over historical interpretations of the Pacific War, the United States and Japan are now facing worrisome tensions and strains that could undermine the solidarity of the US-Japan alliance. Is the time-tested US-Japan alliance capable of managing both the shifts in the regional balance of power, and the threat of conflict over disputed territories, and the rising thermometer of nationalistic sentiments?
Ambassador Ryozo Kato, former Ambassador of Japan to the United States from 2001 - 08, the longest tenure of any Japanese Ambassador to the United States, and former Commissioner of Nippon Professional Baseball from 2008 - 2013, has had a long and distinguished career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Japanese Government. A graduate of Tokyo University Faculty of Law and Yale Law School, he served his country in Australia, Egypt, and the United States, in addition to multiple global assignments within the Ministry in Tokyo.
Positions which Ambassador Kato served in the United States include the Third Secretary in the Embassy (1967–1969), Minister in the Embassy (1987–1990), and Consul-General in San Francisco (1992–1994). He returned to Japan to serve as the Director-General of the Asian Affairs Bureau (1995–1997) and the Deputy-General of the Foreign Policy Bureau (1997–1999). After serving as the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs (1999–2001), he was appointed the Ambassador of Japan to the United States of America from 2001 to 2008. He has been recognized and respected on both sides of the Pacific for his outstanding understanding of the issues and his clarity in direction to resolve them.