JAPAN: Banzai! Here’s to Four More Years and Closer Ties!

The 2012 U.S. Presidential Election garnered countless reactions from across the globe, and Japan was no different. The island nation, according to Mainichi Daily, has welcomed Barack Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney. The reelection comes at a crucial time for US-Japan relations, considering China’s recent push to increase authority in the region.

The prominent daily reported  that Prime Minister Noda had congratulated the President and would “continue to cooperate with him.” Osamu Fujimura, the top government spokesman, reaffirmed this in a press conference, asserting, “the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance has increased.” The recent political debacle over the Senkaku, or Diayou to the Chinese, islands helps account for the mounting significance of the relationship. In a separate conference, Koichiro Gemba, the Foreign Minister, described how the U.S. and Japan had to cooperate in order to “establish order and rule in the Asia-Pacific region and the world.”

The tension between China and Japan isn’t the sole reason for Japan’s general jubilation. The nation’s potential entry into the U.S. led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade discussions could be advanced by Obama’s second term. The newly re-elected president has expressed plans to “bolster U.S. exports and economic growth,” which could place pressure on Japan. In turn, Noda has conveyed a strong interest in the TPP, stating, “high-level free trade agreements are necessary to prop up the country’s sluggish economy.” However, the country’s possible entry doesn’t come without resistance, some sector in Japan arguing that the TPP would have negative effects on both countries.

While Japan is largely supportive of Obama’s reelection, how the troubles plaguing the region develop will depend in part on how the relationship between the countries evolve. For now, ties are arguably close and there is clearly hope and desire to strengthen them.

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