WASHINGTON – The Japan-U.S. alliance that obligates the United States to protect Japan is unfair, U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said.
“If Japan gets attacked, we have to immediately go to their aid,” Trump said, and “if we get attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us.”
“That’s a fair deal?” he said at a gathering in Iowa on Tuesday night.
The real estate tycoon has made many hard-line remarks about other countries. One of the reasons Trump remains a front-runner for Republican presidential nomination in the 2016 presidential election is the apparent support from conservatives who agree with his hard-line views.
Criticizing foreign countries is a hallmark of Trump’s speeches. He came under fire for referring to illegal Mexican immigrants as rapists when he announced his candidacy in June.
Japan and China are among his other targets. As an entrepreneur, Trump points to U.S. trade deficits with those countries.
Trump said that the United States, unlike China and Japan, does not have jobs, adding: “We are gonna bring back jobs from China. We are gonna bring back jobs from Japan.”
When Trump asked: “Who would you rather have negotiating against China, against Iran, against anybody: Jeb (Bush), Hillary (Clinton) or Trump?” the audience shouted, “Trump!”
In his speech in Alabama on Friday, Trump said that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is “really smart” and that U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy had been wined and dined by Abe.
“She’ll do anything they (Japan) want. Anything,” Trump said, criticizing the negotiating stance toward Japan by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Despite these remarks, few worry about their negative impact on Japan-U.S. relations since it is widely believed Trump’s recent popularity will eventually fade away.
With no immediate signs that Trump’s momentum will grind to a halt, however, his hard-line stance toward Japan may become a source of concern, depending on the course of the U.S. presidential race.