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Let’s discuss Donald Trump’s popularity in Japan

This week’s featured article

YOSHIO TAKAHASHI

Support for the United States in Japan has dropped to the lowest level in nine years and only a quarter of Japanese say they have confidence in U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies, according to a survey released Oct. 17.

The poll, carried out by the Washington-based Pew Research Center, showed that 57 percent of Japanese see the U.S. in a favorable light, down from 72 percent in the previous poll, conducted last year, and the biggest year-on-year decline in a decade. This is the lowest figure since 2008, when 50 percent said they had a favorable view of the U.S.

The survey found that 24 percent expressed confidence in Trump doing the right thing regarding world affairs, down from 78 percent in 2016 who had confidence in his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Those who think Japan-U.S. relations will worsen were at 41 percent, and only 17 percent believe bilateral ties will improve somewhat. The survey also showed 34 percent expect them to remain unchanged.

The results of the survey of 1,009 Japanese, conducted between March 8 and April 2, come as Trump plans to visit Japan from Nov. 5 to 7 to firm up the alliance between the two nations. The trip is part of his first tour as U.S. leader to five Asian countries, including South Korea and the Philippines.

The favorability of the U.S. in Japan was lower than that expressed by other nationalities: 78 percent of respondents in the Philippines and 75 percent in South Korea had a positive outlook. However, only 48 percent of Australians surveyed held the same opinion.

People expressing support for the world’s biggest economy in the three countries declined by 9 to 14 percentage points from 2016.

Trust in the U.S. presidency also fell 71 points from 2016 to 17 percent in South Korea, 55 points to 29 percent in Australia and 25 points to 69 percent in the Philippines, according to the survey.

The Trump administration has called on Japan to open up the agriculture and auto markets as part of efforts to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with the world’s third-biggest economy. During last year’s U.S. presidential campaign, Trump urged Tokyo to pay more to maintain U.S. military bases here.

He also pulled the world’s biggest economy out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact as well as the Paris climate agreement. Earlier this month, the U.S. government said it will withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, citing what Washington called its anti-Israel bias.

First published in The Japan Times on Oct. 18.

Warm up

One-minute chat about “My favorite foreign country.”

Game

Collect words related to the United States, e.g., Trump, hot dog, New York.

New words

1) predecessor: former person in charge, e.g., “She changed her predecessor’s system.”

2) bilateral: with two sides, e.g., “They signed a bilateral contract.”

3) withdraw: remove someone or something from, e.g., “I will withdraw from the campaign.”

Guess the headline

Survey finds fewer J_ _ _ _ _ _ _ now see United States in f_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ light

Questions

1) What is happening to the image of the United States?

2) How do the majority of Australians see the U.S.?

3) Why did the U.S. decide to withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Do you have a positive view of the United States?

2) Has the new U.S. president changed the way you feel about the country?

3) How do you think the relationship between Japan and the U.S. will change?

Reference

トランプ大統領就任後、まだ1年もたっていませんが、この短い時間の中でもアメリカの 海外からのイメージは大きく変わり、その変化は実際の外交関係のありかたにも大なり小なり影響を与えることでしょう。

日本はそのアメリカと今後どう関係を築いていけば良いのでしょうか。

朝の会に参加し、皆で話し合ってみましょう。

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