Since the 1980s, the idea of a U.S.-Japan free trade agreement has been proposed every two years or so, only to be defeated by protectionists and pessimists. Now, however, a new set of geopolitical as well as economic circumstances make such an agreement not only desirable but necessary if the United States and Japan wish to advance their common stake in the future of East Asia. This paper discusses the historical background and the new circumstances that make a free trade agreement increasingly urgent, what such an agreement might look like, including its economic and strategic benefits, and how actors in both countries might respond.