IT IS not easy these days to picture the US in the role of relationship therapist, patiently repairing the dangerous rift that has been growing between China and Japan. But that is exactly what those two major Asian powers need. Few things could be more vital for global peace and prosperity than resolving the conflicts between Tokyo and Beijing.
Some of those conflicts are emotional; others are rooted in traditional competition over resources and regional influence. Whether it is their quarrels over clashing historical narratives or their disputes about natural gas deposits in the East China Sea, however, China and Japan confront no conflicts so irreconcilable that they must inevitably lead to strategic confrontation.