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When U.S. President Donald Trump incited an insurrection on Jan. 6 that led a mob of supporters to violently attack the U.S. Capitol, Japan’s mildly worded rebuke about things being “difficult” stood in contrast to the forceful language used by leaders around the globe, notes Eric Johnston.

Even lawmakers in the PM’s own party have criticized Suga’s administration for not sending out a clear message to the world. Could the soft rhetoric have something to do with his predecessor’s close ties with Trump?

When Trump’s “America First” policy gets the boot on Jan. 20, it will be replaced by Biden’s more outward-looking and cooperative approach in Asia — one in which Japan is widely expected to play an integral part, Jesse Johnson and Satoshi Sugiyama report.

American expats in Japan react to the U.S. Capitol riot | STREET INTERVIEW | ASIAN BOSS
American expats in Japan react to the U.S. Capitol riot | STREET INTERVIEW | ASIAN BOSS

As Washington looks warily at China’s rise, it will aim for Japan to play a placeholder role as the Biden White House focuses immediately on reining in the coronavirus pandemic that has left about 385,000 dead in the U.S.

In a move likely to reassure Tokyo and other allies, Kurt Campbell — a key architect of the U.S. pivot to Asia — will take a top job under President-elect Joe Biden as a senior policy official for the region, Johnson reports.

But one aspect of the Trump administration’s policy Tokyo wants to see continue is a tough line with China on the issue of Taiwan. Last month, a top Japanese defense official urged Biden to “be strong” in supporting Taiwan in the face of an aggressive China, calling the island’s safety a “red line.”

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