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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 November 9 - 15  > Trump’s victory in US presidential election, high time to end Japan’s subservience to US
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2016 November 9 - 15 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Trump’s victory in US presidential election, high time to end Japan’s subservience to US

November 10, 2016
Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States on November 9. Prime Minister Abe Shinzo following his victory sent him a congratulatory message. PM Abe expressed his determination to “further strengthen the bond of the Japan-U.S. Alliance” by “closely cooperating” with Trump. He also expressed his hope that the Japanese and U.S. governments will play “leading roles for assuring peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.” This indicates that the Abe government will maintain its policy focusing on the Japan-U.S. alliance.

However, Trump in the election campaign repeatedly made remarks which could shake the Japan-U.S. relations. Therefore, it is high time for Japan to depart from its unquestioning support of the U.S.

US decision on TPP

What the Japanese government will soon face is whether the U.S. government approves the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement which calls for the Japanese market to fully open up to multinational corporations.

The Obama administration placed the TPP at the core of its Asia-Pacific strategy. From the point of view of prioritizing the Japan-U.S. alliance, the Abe government is seeking the forcible passage of bills related to the TPP ratification in the current extraordinary session of the Diet.

Meanwhile, Trump has reiterated that he will oppose the multilateral free-trade deal. For example, in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention on July 21, Trump said that he will never sign any trade deal that harms American workers.

No country, including the United States, has yet to ratify the TPP. The Japanese government should stop clinging to the outgoing Obama administration position on the TPP and reconsider the move to go forward with the TPP.

Trump says stationing costs of US military should be fully covered by host courtiers

Since the 1980s, Trump has been arguing that U.S. allied nations are freeriding on the U.S. military presence in their territories and that they should shoulder more of stationing costs.

During the presidential election campaign, Trump repeatedly insisted that costs associated with U.S. military bases outside the U.S. should be fully covered by the host countries and proposed that the U.S. withdraw its troops from countries if they refuse to pay the costs. Trump went so far as to mention that Japan and South Korea should protect themselves with their own nuclear weapons.

After the President-elect assumes office, Washington will most likely pressure Tokyo to play a larger military role by citing U.S. financial difficulties. The Japanese government may be urged to pay even more of the stationing costs of the U.S. Forces in Japan as well as dispatch the Self-Defense Forces to more overseas missions such as maintenance of order in the Middle East after the collapse of the Islamic State militant group (IS).

The U.S. government may push Japan to swallow these demands by hinting at withdrawing U.S. troops from Japan although it is unlikely that the U.S. is actually ready to do that. However, if the Japanese government falls for the bluff, it will face an irreparable outcome.

Japan needs to grope its own way for a while

While some Japanese government officials are expressing concern that the U.S. presidential election result may shake the foundation of the Japan-U.S. alliance, a Foreign Ministry official said that the president-elect may act differently from what he said he would do during the campaign. Japan will have to grope its way on its own for a while.

However, one thing is clear: the election result should be interpreted as a change in the undercurrent of U.S. society.

As one of the factors in Trump’s victory, his promise to improve the employment situation and livelihoods of working-class white families amid a growing economic gap in America was a major factor. This explains why Trump opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade pact, seeks to shift more military burdens on military allies, and takes a hostile position toward immigrant issues. The change in the undercurrent also affected the other side during the campaign trail. In the Democratic Party’s nomination race, Bernie Sanders, who refers to himself as a democratic socialist, waged a strong fight with his pledge to tackle economic inequality.

It requires time to see where the U.S. will proceed in the future. Before seeing the direction in which the U.S. moves, the Japanese government should not keep obeying the U.S. without asking pertinent questions.

* * *

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on November 9 published the following comment on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election:

Republican Donald Trump won in the U.S. presidential election on November 8.

Trump’s victory is a reflection of the contradictions and deadlock in U.S. society which is being affected by widening social disparities, an increase in poverty, and the shrinking of the middle class. It also shows that global capitalism centering on multinational corporations has come to a dead end.

Trump has made some controversial remarks on a number of important issues. The Japanese Communist Party is watching closely to see what policies he will actually propose as President of the United States.
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