For Sapio (February), the abiding question is, will the next U.S. President-elect Donald Trump screech "You're fired!" at Japan?
This possibility is raised by Tatou Takahama, a former Yomiuri newspaper journalist based in Southern California. In search of answers, Takahama actually tweeted a message to Trump asking for comments about how the U.S.-Japan relationship could be expected to change in the event of his election. Trump's initial response seemed to be a standard boilerplate message, which read "Thank you for support" [sic]. Efforts to obtain more specific details were unsuccessful.
A reporter from a major daily newspaper explained to him that in the run-up to American presidential elections, it's common for people to announce their candidacy without going through the trouble of formulating platform specifics. In Trump's case, moreover, reporters covering the campaign simply can't get close enough to him to obtain usable comments.
"Just report what I say, that's good enough," Trump was quoted as advising members of the press.
At least Takahama was able to put together a collection of Japan- or Asia-related remarks attributed to Trump.
In April 25, 2014, he tweeted, "If we drop the import duty on Japanese cars to zero, they'll ship several million cars, and we'll never achieve a balance of trade.
Last August 25, Trump had remarked to the effect that "if Japan is attacked, the U.S. must go to its aid. But if we are attacked, we don't get aid from Japan. The U.S.-Japan Security Treaty is unfair."
And more recently on Dec 7, the 74th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Trump spoke aboard the deck of the retired aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, which is docked in Mt Pleasant, South Carolina. In that speech, Trump made his oft-quoted and much-criticized remarks about banning Muslim immigration into the U.S. "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."
Those remarks dominated the coverage, but Takahama points out Trump also referred to the "despicable and cowardly sneak attack that caused the deaths of 2,403 servicemen, with another 1,178 wounded. And in 2001, using the same cowardly methods Islamic extremists attacked the World Trade Center in New York. At least the Pearl Harbor attackers targeted military facilities, but the Islamists engaged in indiscriminate murders of civilians..." He then tied in 9-11 with the recent fatal shootings of 14 people in San Bernadino, California by a married couple said to be supporters of the Islamic State.
"With the words 'despicable and cowardly sneak attack,'" Takahama writes, "one thing that permeates Trump followers of age 70 and over is how they are still imbued with such negative feelings toward Japan."
Observing that if Trump weren't running for president, he would just be referred to as a multimillionaire who made his fortune from real estate, so how, then, Takahama asks, can we explain his huge popularity with Republican voters?
The first factor, he supposes, is Americans' annoyance over their country's decline as a superpower. Trump has been masterfully exploiting this resentment. And funding his own campaign makes it possible for him to ride the wave of populism.
The second factor are resilient streaks of anti-elitism and anti-intellectualism.
"What resonates [among Trump's supporters] is their low levels of education, as many come from the ranks of blue-collar workers in declining industries or small-scale farmers. It's the hearts of these people he's been grabbing," a TV station director who accompanied the Trump campaign was quoted as saying.
And what sort of conclusions are to be drawn from all the sound and fury? Nothing surprising, it would seem.
"When and if Trump's momentum begins to falter, I suppose the media will turn on him too, and start portraying him as a loser," an unnamed Republican strategist is quoted.© Japan Today