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Timeline of U.S.-Japanese Relations

1854 to Present


Flag of Japan

Flag of Japan

Photo: Getty/Thompson
The Convention of Kanagawa

The first treaty between both countries signed between the Japanese Empire and Commodore Matthew Perry, who represented the U.S. The treaty enhanced U.S.-Japanese trade relations.

First Sino-Japanese War

Japan easily defeats the weakened Chinese forces in a war over who controls Korea, symbolizing the emergence of Japan as the new regional hegemon.

Japanese-Russo War

The Japanese prove once again their power by defeating the Russians in the war between two growing imperial powers over who controls Korea and Manchuria. 1937
Second Sino-Japanese War

The second war between China and Japan begins and then transitions from limited conflict to a full-on war that would eventually blend into World War II.

Pearl Harbor Attacked

In a surprise strike, Japan attacks the America naval base at Pearl Harbor , Hawaii, officially bringing the U.S. into World War II. 1945
Japanese Surrender

The U.S. drops atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima leading to the surrender of the Japanese Empire and the occupation of Japan by the Allies.

The San Francisco Treaty

Signed by the allied powers and Japan the Treaty of San Francisco provided compensation to civilians and prisoners of war and granted Japan its post-war independence from the Allies.

Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security

Signed in January of 1960, the treaty brought closer military and economic cooperation between both countries.

Japanese Economic Boom

Japan rises as a major economic power in Asia and the World leading to a significant trade imbalance in favor of the Japanese which still remains as a major feature of U.S.-Japanese bilateral trade.

Graceland Diplomacy

In a sign of the close relationship between both countries, President George Bush joins Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on a visit to Elvis Presley's home, Graceland.

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