Identifying Trends in Japan-DPRK Relations and Implications for U.S. Policy

Last updated May 01, 2006

Policy coordination with Japan regarding North Korea is always important for U.S. policy makers, given the persistent security challenges posed by the DPRK and the lack of progress on North Korean denuclearization. The situation is further complicated by the oftentimes conflicting interests of other key regional players (such as China and South Korea) regarding priorities and policy approaches vis-à-vis the North. This report explores how Japan's policy toward North Korea has evolved over time, and it describes how domestic politics and bureaucratic organization affect current Japanese policy making in this area. U.S.-Japan policy coordination toward North Korea is discussed, and the implications of all of these factors are examined with policy recommendations to strengthen alliance cooperation.