After a tumultuous four years under Donald Trump, Joe Biden will be the next U.S. president, bringing with him a whole new set of foreign policy goals. But how will these affect Japan? And with so many domestic issues to fix at home, how much time will Biden have to devote to America’s allies?

On the latest Deep Dive podcast, Oscar Boyd is joined by Sheila A. Smith, a senior fellow for Japan studies at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations think tank. They discuss what a Biden presidency might mean for Japan going forward, where Washington and Tokyo might find new areas for cooperation, and the growing pressure of an increasingly demanding China.

Japan says keen to hear Biden's policy on Taiwan | BLOOMBERG POLITICS
Japan says keen to hear Biden’s policy on Taiwan | BLOOMBERG POLITICS

Two areas in which Biden diverges sharply from Trump are trade and climate change. With just weeks to go until the president-elect steps up, Japan needs to examine how to react to his proposed policies on these key issues, argues Shin Oya from the Asia-Pacific Initiative think tank in an extended commentary.

In another opinion piece, University of Tokyo professor Shin Kawashima addresses what he calls a “misunderstanding” about the new U.S. administration that has been perpetuated in the Japanese media: namely, that under Biden, Washington will once again reach out to China and put Japan in a difficult spot — a concern rooted in memories of the Obama administration’s friendlier ties with Beijing.

Japan and other nations in the region will need clear signals from the next administration about where it stands on China and its territorial ambitions or the “misunderstanding” risks sticking, writes Kawashima.