Japanese diplomatic and governing party figures have expressed concern that U.S. President Donald Trump will pull his country back from international cooperation, with potentially harmful global consequences.
According to a Foreign Ministry source, Trump's repudiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal -- of which Japan is a signatory -- just after his Jan. 20 inauguration was "within the expectations" of the Japanese government and ruling party, as was Trump's inaugural speech declaration that "from this day forward, it's going to be only America first, America first."
However, the official added that there is growing worry that the U.S. will turn away from international cooperation as a core policy.
Masahiko Komura, vice-president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), told the Mainichi Shimbun, "If each country begins focusing only on itself, the economic state of the world -- including the United States -- will be disastrous. Mr. Trump, who is a smart man, probably understands this." Komura went on to say, "We need to closely examine the concrete content of the 'America First' ideology."
A mid-level LDP lawmaker commented, "Former President Barack Obama declared that the U.S. is not the world's police officer, but I wonder if Mr. Trump intends to quit the world stage altogether." A senior Foreign Ministry official added, "We don't really have a grasp on the full scope of (Trump's) policy."
Meanwhile, regarding Trump's inaugural address insistence that he would "make America great again," another source related to the government said, "A strong America is important for the Asia-Pacific region, so we would like to cooperate (with the Trump administration.)" The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is moving to arrange an early meeting between the two leaders to confirm the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance.