The notion that the single most important bilateral relationship in the world today is the one between Japan and the United States continues to gain wide acceptance among foreign affairs specialists. For the first time in history, economic forces, not military or political factors, define what is arguably the international systems most important bilateral relationship. The end of the cold war has brought into focus the critical importance of the economic and technological competition between the world's two largest, most dynamic economies. Though peaceful, this competition entails enormous stakes involving future trends in domestic standards of living and in international influence.