NIXON'S economic shock, along with divisions among the Liberal Democrats over how to respond to the China opening, shaped the struggle to succeed Sato as prime minister. In a larger sense, Washington's foreign policy initiatives during the early 1970s signified the beginning of the end of the special dependency relationship that had prevailed between the United States and Japan since the Occupation. Over the next twenty years, the changing nature of the cold war, the evolution of a new world economy, and domestic forces would transform the Pacific alliance.
Minister of International Trade and Industry, Tanaka Kakuei -- dubbed the "computerized bulldozer" because of his tenacity, unusual flare for publicity, and contempt for bureaucrats -- easily outflanked his main Liberal Democratic rival, Foreign Minister Fukuda Takeo. Buoyed by the slogan "Don't miss the boat to China" and by a plan for massive domestic economic development, Tanaka won the LDP presidency and premiership in July 1972.
Like Nixon and Kissinger, Tanaka distrusted career bureaucrats and diplomats. He circumvented the foreign ministry by dispatching business leaders and members of opposition parties to sound out the Chinese on their terms for rapprochement. Zhou Enlai proved eager to accommodate Tanaka. In a humiliating rejection of the Japanese left, Zhou revealed that China no longer opposed the United States-Japan Security Treaty. If Japan recognized the PRC as the sole legitimate government of China and severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan, Zhou offered to drop demands for war reparations and tolerate Japan's continued commercial relations with Taiwan. 1
On August 31, 1972, Tanaka conferred with Nixon in Honolulu. He told the president he intended to establish full diplomatic ties with China,