Japan's Reaction to Obama's Victory

Japan's Reaction to Obama's Victory

The following editorials from major Japanese newspapers stress the importance of continuing a strong Japan-US relationship, however "Japan in the Obama era" from the Asahi Shimbun also argues for the need for Japan to move away from a US-centered foreign policy.  These editorials can be used to spark discussion about Japan's recent relationship with the United States, such as its support for the war in Iraq.  Students can be asked to agree or disagree with the Asahi Shimbun's analysis that "The Japanese government must feel as though it was left in the lurch by someone on whom it has depended."  These editorials can also be used in conjunction with editorials from other countries to compare and contrast the various reactions to an Obama presidency.

EDITORIAL: Japan in the Obama era
Asahi Shimbun
Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008

"While cooperating with the United States, Japan cannot maintain its clout in the international community unless it also presents its own ideas and act on them. In that sense, we should recognize that the Obama-era world is offering Japan an ideal opportunity to display its diplomatic power.

We want Japanese politics to build a new Japan-U.S. cooperation instead of sticking to the same bilateral relationship it has maintained over the last 50 years."

Aso, Obama pledge to strengthen alliance
Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008

"Prime Minister Taro Aso and U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on Friday confirmed efforts to strengthen bilateral ties and touched on subjects ranging from Obama's cheerleaders in Japan to the global financial crisis.

In their first telephone conversation since Obama's historic election victory, Aso spoke to Obama in English for about 10 minutes without any interpreters, officials said."

Obama has made history, but hard work starts now

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008

This editorial discusses the economic and diplomatic strategies President-elect Obama will need to employ, along with an argument for continuing a strong US-Japan Alliance.

November 6, 2008

This collection of articles offers insight into various reactions in Japan to Barack Obama's victory, from issues concerning the government to all-out celebrations in the tiny town of Obama, Japan to implications for Japan's bid for the 2012 Olympics. These articles and videos can be used to start discussions with your students about global ramifications of this election, and the impact on Japan in specific.

Statement by Prime Minister Taro Aso on the Election of Senator Barack Obama as President of the United States of America
Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008

Japan: Ties with US will remain unchanged (NHK video clip)
Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008

This video clip from NHK world briefly discusses Japan's hope to strengthen the relationship between Japan and the US.

Getting to know Obama is 1st task
Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008

This article explores the Japanese government's reaction to Obama's win.  Issues of concerns include: the rapport between Prime Minister Taro Aso's administration and President-Elect Obama's, Japan's expected role in Afghanistan, the realignment of US military facilities in Okinawa, and the way Obama's relationship with North Korea will affect the struggle to repatriate abducted Japanese citizens.

In video: World reacts to Obama victory (CNN video clips)
Japan celebrates Obama victory
Residents from the town of Obama, Japan celebrate Obama's win in this CNN video.

Obama, Japan, Celebrates

In this low-grade, commentary-free video from CNN, residents of Obama, Japan watch the election results come in.

Thousands of kilometers away, a city rejoices
Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008

"OBAMA, Fukui Prefecture--Shortly before U.S. President-elect Barack Obama made a rousing victory speech in Chicago, thousands of kilometers away, in this normally quiet seaside city, a group of women wearing floral skirts danced the hula in his honor in front of a packed municipal hall on Wednesday."

Welcome to Obama, Japan (CBS video clip)
This CBS video clip from March, 2008 introduces the small town of Obama, Japan.

Barack Obama victory could hurt Japanese Olympic bid
From Times Online
November 5, 2008 "

Japanese Olympic officials say the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States has damaged their chances of hosting the Olympics in 2016. "

Which candidate would like to see as the next U.S. president?
Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008

Views from the street (American and Japanese) before the election result.