Japanese media weigh in on US elections


In one of these types of stories only in Japan, Shukan Jitsuwa (November 26) describes Donald Trump’s refusal to concede defeat in this month’s US presidential election as analogous to the current situation in professional sumo. .

It appears that for the second tournament in a row, two veteran grand champions born in Mongolia, Hakuho and Kakuryu (both aged 35), have been left on the sidelines due to injuries, while continuing to receive generous salaries.

“The Japanese embrace the aesthetics of isagiyosa (resolute resignation or virility) and hikigiwa (knowing when to stop), ”an anonymous sumo journalist told the magazine. “But these attributes are completely lacking in both.

“Like Trump, who refuses to admit defeat, they will never announce their retirement of their own accord,” the writer says. “So rectifying the situation will fall on the stable masters of the two wrestlers or the Yokozuna Deliberation Council (the powerful committee that advises the Japanese Sumo Association).”

Arguably the most conservative of established weeklies, Shukan Shincho (Nov. 19) presented five short articles under the headline “Trump’s last scenario to win from behind.”

According to Georgia reports, Biden’s lead was only 1,500 votes, a 0.2% margin. In such cases, state law requires a recount. Other battlefield states such as Pennsylvania and Arizona also surrendered to Biden with very low margins and recounts cannot be ruled out.

Two decades ago, when the results in Florida were challenged in the 2000 presidential election, the Conservative Supreme Court majority voted against a recount, giving the state electoral votes – and the election – to George W. Bush.

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This year, the death of Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and the 11th hour appointment of Conservative Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett can be seen as a strategic move on Trump’s part. Will the country’s highest court be called upon to rule again?

If Trump somehow manages to achieve a thwarted victory, comments the writer, the “Trump theater” will certainly have lived up to its reputation. If Trump’s gambits fail, on the other hand, Shukan Shincho notes in the follow-up article, he’s very likely to face litigation and possibly even arrest for his shady financial transactions.

Writing in Shukan Bunshun (November 19), commentator Akira Ikegami, who could be described as Japan’s most important “media explicator”, begins his column by stating, “Well, a red mirage has appeared.” The “red mirage,” he explains, was Trump’s first advance in some of the states, leading many to conclude he would be re-elected. Then, the count of the postal ballots moved the battlefield states to the blue column.

Ikegami recalled four years earlier, when, asked by fellow commentator Yoko Oshita on TV Asahi’s “Wide Scramble” show to predict the 2016 winner, he replied, “I didn’t. absolutely no idea. ” This time, Oshita was more insistent.

“Who will win?” Oshita asked. “You have to give me a prediction.”

“It’s hard to follow, but I think Biden is going to win,” Ikegami replied.

Normally, after the US election, Ikegami explains, the common practice is to lose candidates to appeal for congratulations to their opponent and then inform their assembled supporters of that action.

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“Trump’s refusal to concede shows how much America’s political divisions have deepened over the past four years,” Ikegami says. “Trump calls the information he doesn’t like ‘fake’ and denounces TBEN journalists as ‘enemies of the people’.

“Trump is firing non-compliant staff, not firing them directly but announcing it on Twitter. There is nothing grosser than that. I guess he doesn’t have the guts to send them straight away.

Ikegami also criticized Trump’s escape to a bunker during a Black Lives Matter protest outside the White House, and his tacit acknowledgments of conspiracy theories such as QAnon, which maintains his presidential authority is undermined by obscure pedophile opponents who lurk in the “deep state”, which controls the media.

“Trump supporters are making outlandish claims that go against common sense,” Ikegami says. “Biden may have been elected, but it won’t be easy to mend the fractures that have widened over the past four years.”

Nikkan Gendai (November 13) devoted an entire page to an interview with international journalist Mikio Haruna, who noted that the source of energy for Trump supporters appears to be contradictory, consisting on the one hand of disenfranchised members middle class, many of whom are white, facing shrinking economic times due to widening economic disparities; and, on the other hand, high-income earners who have benefited from generous tax cuts.

Regarding future relations between Japan and the United States, Haruna believes that the Foreign Office and the State Department will revert to “honeymoon” status under a Biden administration.

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“Japanese State Department specialists have remained silent to avoid upsetting Trump,” he said. “But they will regain their power under Biden. So in that context, I guess the relationship will stabilize. But Japan cannot maintain its dependence on America forever, and we will have to be vigilant. In fact, during Trump’s tenure, we had the opportunity to completely rework the Japan-U.S. Relationship. But instead, Japan has embarked on omotenashi diplomacy (focused on hospitality). It is something to regret.

At the same time, on Friday, November 20, there are concerns that if the transition is prolonged, China could exploit the US political leadership deficit and target territory claimed by Japan.

“President Trump’s unpredictable personality may have held back China’s movements in East Asia for fear that Trump will do anything to please his supporters,” journalist Toshihiro Yamada said. “So, until the next president is decided, the political vacuum would raise the possibility of China getting bolder.”

A US political stalemate could easily spread to this part of the world, military affairs reporter Mitsuhiro Sera told the magazine.

“If the United States were to plunge into civil unrest, without a president or commander-in-chief, American forces abroad would be crippled,” Sera says. “Along with taking possession of Taiwan, it would not be strange to see China follow through on its demands and seize the Senkaku Islands.”

Big in Japan is a weekly column devoted to issues discussed by national media organizations.




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