As prime minister, Suzuki adopted what he called the politics of harmony, which emphasized increased political dialogue. At the same time, he advocated comprehensive security abroad by distancing his government from President Ronald Reagan's hard-line strategy toward the Soviet Union. During a visit to the United States in 1981, Suzuki's interpretation of the U.S.-Japanese alliance, which he said "does not imply a military connotation," angered the White House and strained U.S.-Japanese relations. Suzuki was in fact a dovish politician who concerned himself with limiting defense expenditures despite the effort of the Reagan administration's strong pressure to increase them.
In 1982 Suzuki declared that he would not run for election as party president. He dissolved his cabinet that November and retired from politics in 1990. Suzuki died in Tokyo on 19 July 2004.
Ohtake Hideo. Nippon No Boei To Kokunai Seiji [Japan's Defense and Domestic Politics]. Tokyo: San-Ichi Shobo, 1983.; Schaller, Michael. Altered States: The United States and Japan since the Occupation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.; Uji Toshihiko. Suzuki Seiken Happyaku-Rokuju-San Nichi [The 863 days of the Suzuki Administration]. Tokyo: Gyosei Mondai Kenkyusho, 1983.