A new cottage industry is developing among America's security specialists: how to improve relations between the United States and Japan. Two prestigious research institutes, the Atlantic Council and the Pacific Forum, recently assembled a group of foreign policy heavyweights to consider the matter. The results are disappointing. The two reports are long on analysis and short on concrete recommendations. The most specific recommendation, Robert Scalapino's in the Pacific Forum report, is a call for strengthening political consultation, developing a quasi-permanent, unofficial America-Japan Council with experts to prepare studies, developing a plan of apprenticeships between U.S. and Japanese universities, businesses and official agencies, and promoting more multilateral conferences. There are also a variety of calls for coordinating foreign aid but no details on how this can or should be done.
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