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The roadblocks in Japan's plan to counter China

Falling dominoes with the Japanese rising sun, blocked by a U.S. flag
Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

Donald Trump thought Japan was taking advantage of the U.S. in the 1980s, but now it's his closest partner in confronting a new rival: China.

The bottom line: The U.S. and Japan agree on the threat posed by an increasingly ambitious China. But Japan wants to counter China through international partnerships, while, under Trump, the U.S. is actively retreating from those alliances in favor of going after Beijing alone.