In language usually reserved for more restive parts of the world, Japan's top government spokesman on Thursday said Tokyo was concerned and closely monitoring the breach of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.
"We are hoping for a peaceful transfer of power" in the United States, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters.
The United States' key Asian ally joined a chorus of world leaders in voicing alarm over the breach, with the U.K. and Australia also calling for a peaceful transfer of power and allies in Europe calling the protesters’ actions an attack on democracy.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had cultivated a strong personal relationship with Trump, while Abe's successor, Yoshihide Suga, worked to maintain that bond after Abe resigned.
"Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress,” U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted after Trump’s supporters stormed the building. Although well known for his admiration of the outgoing president, the British leader said "it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.” Another leader who has previously voiced support of Trump, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, called the scenes "very distressing” and said he was looking forward to a peaceful transfer of power.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a radio interview that his government was "concerned.” "We’re following the situation minute by minute as it unfolds,” he said.
Their comments came after President-elect Joe Biden used a Wednesday speech to urge Americans to "think what the rest of the world is looking at” when they viewed the chaotic scenes from Washington.
While some European lawmakers issued statements backing U.S. institutions and its democracy to overcome the turmoil, others were more condemning of the president and his supporters.
"The enemies of democracy will rejoice at these unbelievable images out of Washington,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. "Inflammatory words reap violent deeds.” Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said "shame on those who have incited this attack on democracy.”
Carl Bildt, co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, said his "sincere hope is that the evil man who bears the responsibility ultimately will suffer the consequences.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy in Washington reminded its nationals living in the U.S. to step up their safety precautions. China’s government in Beijing didn’t immediately issue a direct response to the mob violence, but initial news reports on state media emphasized the chaos emanating from Washington.
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