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This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security signed by the United States and Japan. On that day, President Dwight Eisenhower pledged to establish an indestructible partnership based on equality and mutual understanding. As President Barack Obama said, the enduring partnership between the United States and Japan has helped bring unprecedented prosperity and peace to both countries.
The notion of Japan as the cornerstone of U.S. engagement in East Asia, said U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, "began and grew out of a far sighted vision of American leaders at the end of World War II, a vision that recognized the importance of building a strong partnership with democratic market economies to meet the challenges of the second half of the 20th century, not just with our wartime allies, but equally with those who had been adversaries."
That alliance secured peace and prosperity for the people of Japan and the United States and helped create the conditions that have led to the emergence of Asia as an economic power-house that has helped lift billions out of poverty and gradually spread democratic governance to more countries in the region.
Over the years, the alliance has grown in scope, with cooperation on everything from developing a joint missile defense system to reducing the impact of the U.S. military footprint in Japan. Today Japan is working with the U.S. to respond to threats posed by North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons programs. At the same time, Japan's Self Defense Forces are on the ground in Africa and the Middle East promoting peace. Japan is aiding in reconstruction efforts in Iraq and anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa. In Afghanistan, Japan has provided $5 billion to help train police officers, rehabilitate demobilized fighters, and build schools and roads.
In a joint statement, the 2 governments committed themselves to further building an unshakeable U.S.-Japan Alliance to adapt to the evolving environment of the 21st century, learning from the challenges the Alliance has faced in the past.
"As [the United States and Japan] celebrate the anniversary of the treaty," said President Obama, "we pay tribute to its role in supporting regional security and prosperity, and strengthening our 2 democracies. Let us now undertake to renew our alliance for the 21st century and enhance the bonds of friendship and common purpose that united our nations."