OSAKA – One year after the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, nearly 70 Kansai residents, mostly Americans and Japanese, staged a protest march over the weekend against a leader whose policies, statements and treatment of women and minorities has been internationally condemned as racist and sexist.
The march and candlelight vigil took place in Osaka on Saturday afternoon. Many participants were women who drew attention to the problems of violence and discrimination, particularly in American society, that sparked the recent #MeToo movement.
There were some who expressed disgust toward Japan’s political leadership and its efforts to curry favor with Trump by not criticizing him directly over his remarks and behavior.
“It’s embarrassing that Abe is so close to Trump, and the problem is that he can’t say no the U.S. president,” said Satoko Itani, one of the participants.
Linda Crawford, a long-term American resident of Kyoto, said Trump has been bad for U.S.-Japan relations on a personal level.
“Over the past year, some older Japanese female friends have expressed disappointment to me in Trump’s election, saying they don’t understand what happened but that they don’t respect America any more,” she said, echoing other American participants who did not want to be quoted for this article but said they, and their Japanese friends, were also still in a state of shock over what happened.
Under Trump, one sector of the U.S. that has prospered is the defense industry. Four major U.S. defense contractors, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and General Dynamics did very well in 2017. When the U.S. president visited Tokyo in November, he said it was very important “that the Prime Minister of Japan is going to be purchasing massive amounts of military equipment, as he should.”
“The sale of weapons to Japan is a big reason why Abe and his allies, who want to revise Japan’s Constitution, are now on good terms with Trump and his administration,” said Toyonaka resident Akiko Oguchi, who is involved with local peace groups.
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