I don’t know if you know this but Donald Trump is set to be the next president of the United States. On the twentieth day of January 2017, President Barack Obama will end his time as “leader of the Free World” and pass the torch onto Donald John Trump. It’s was only last year when the thought of him acquiring such a position of power was seen by many as a joke. But it’s now a reality, and an uncertain one at that.
As a twenty-five year old from England, it was both interesting and frustrating to see the constant bickering and bewildering rhetoric that was being spewed out by both parties and also amongst the public. If anything, this US election perfectly showed how much of a flawed, ridiculously exorbitant and prolonged system it all really is. It equally proved the media as a cesspool that ultimately dictates everything in America. I’m, like many, disappointed by the democratic election of Trump, but wasn’t shocked nor surprised when they announced it. In my opinion, neither candidate deserved to be running for the presidency and representing America on a global scale. And in the end America’s working, white populous stole the show and voted for “change”. But as I’m currently living in Japan, I wondered how people here feel about it the whole situation?
There’s no question that Barack Obama is and has been a popular president from a Japanese point of view. “He’s cool”, one of my students said. Another one exclaimed “I wish Shinzo Abe was more like him!”. His visit to Hiroshima this year, while criticised by some (both Japanese and American), was seen as geniunely step forward between both nations. Some would even call it “historic”, others would say “….it was alright”. But it’s clear that he and the First Lady Michelle Obama have painted a different picture of not only the US Presidency, but America in general. While his legacy will be debated fiercely by both Republicans and Democrats, in the eyes of many he has been welcome addition to the global, political landscape.
Now with Donald Trump on the horizon, Japan’s relationship with America is definitely under question and scrutiny. His early campaign comments showed that he wanted Japan to become a “nuclear power”, a notion that completely goes against everything Japan has stood for since the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty back in 1967. Of course, my current city of Hiroshima knows all too well the ramifications of nuclear weapons. Meanwhile he also believed that Japan should pay more for the America’s military presence in the country. A thought that has given way to polarising opinions. Japan’s proximity to both North Korea and China has been a precarious situation for a considerable amount of time. And with Kim Jong Un testing hydrogen bombs and long range missiles, Japan is feeling increasingly nervous about the situation in Asia. Recently, Trump has further failed to alleviate Japan’s anxiety after announcing his intention of withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It’s a decision that has left prime minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet scrambling as China looks to push for the alternative Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) instead. But if I’m being brutally honest and slightly controversial, I believe that Japan would do better to distance itself with America and rebuild itself back to some essence of its former glory. And this is the perfect opportunity to do that.
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