"The United States has long worked closely with Japan to build a strong, multifaceted relationship based on shared democratic values and mutual interest in Asian and global stability and development. The Japanese government headed by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has welcomed the Bush Administration's desire to deepen alliance relations and its avoidance of publicly resorting to gaiatsu ('foreign pressure') in addressing American concerns about Japan's serious and economic and financial problems. U.S.-Japan relations are of concern to Members and Committees with responsibilities or interests in trade, U.S. foreign policy, ballistic missile defense (BMD), and regional security issues. The latter include North Korean nuclear and missile proliferation, China's emergence as a potential U.S. military adversary, and U.S. military bases in Japan, whose importance has been underscored once again by their by U.S. forces engaged in the antiterrorist campaign in Afghanistan. Despite resistance from the larger of the of the Koizumi government's two coalition partners and the main opposition party, the Koizumi government gained parliamentary passage in October 2001 of legislation permitting the despatch of Japanese ships and transport aircraft to the Indian Ocean to provide rear-area logistical support to U.S. forces engaged in the anti-terrorist campaign in Afghanistan. Because of a constitutional ban on offensive military action not strictly for self-defense, Japanese ships have been restricted to non-combat support."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB97004
United States. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers, Bureau of Public Affairs: http://www.fpc.state.gov/