In boosting Japanese morale and self-confidence, Japan's Women's World Cup victory could translate into better relations between America and its most important Asian ally. To help that along, President Obama should invite the US and Japan soccer teams to the White House.
We American fans who were devastated by the US women’s upset loss in the soccer World Cup have comforted ourselves with the feeling that if we had to lose, Japan was our second choice to win after the terrible year that country has had. Additionally, a persuasive case can be made that Japan’s victory will prove to be a plus for our mutual security interests.
The triple natural/manmade disasters the country has suffered – especially the prolonged nuclear crisis – have wounded the national psyche and held the potential for a dangerous weakening of national will.
Down the road, the loss of public morale could have undermined Japan’s commitment to the US alliance as the basis for regional security – and it could have tempted some in Tokyo to consider an accommodation with China.
Perhaps something like that was at work when Japan downplayed Taiwan’s leading role in the tsunami and earthquake relief effort, its generosity far outstripping China’s modest contribution.
The valiant women’s World Cup victory against the powerful US team has gone a long way to restoring the country’s self-esteem and self-confidence – that’s the kind of Japan we need as our most important Asian ally.