Japanese Editor Shares Country’s Reaction to Election

Photo courtesy of Yuya Tamai, Flickr

The world was watching as America went to the polls last month to select the next president. On Tuesday, Ramapo welcomed a Japanese newspaper editor to share an international perspective on the election of Donald Trump.

Hiroyuki Nishimura is Deputy Editor of the Nikkei Asian Review and Online News Editor and Engagement Editor at the Financial Times. In his talk, he discussed how the media in Japan reacted to the election as well as many of the thoughts and fears Asian countries have regarding national security.

“He’s been here from Japan covering the election for a Japanese audience and an English speaking audience across Asia. Giving the dynamics of this election, we thought it would be interesting for students to hear an international perspective,” said Karen Booth, Assistant Director for Civic Engagement.

Nishimura began by sharing the general thoughts of Japan on the election.

Based on a Japanese public poll, 68 percent of people said that they were unhappy with Trump’s victory. According to the poll, they are worried about his lack of experience regarding government and military and the unexpected consequences of his uncensored comments.

“Asia is the center of economic growth and potential conflict,” Nishimura said. “It will affect America’s economy and security.”

He went on to explain that Japan’s proximity to North Korea and Trump’s method of handling rising tensions are also concerns for many countries in the region.

“For instance, right now I don’t think any of you worry too much about a missile flying over to the west coast, right? But, if regional security goes down … that’s going to be an imminent threat and source of concern,” Nishimura said.

He also shared how newspapers in Japan looked the morning after the election. Even an ocean away, Trump’s face and large headlines stretched across the front page.

“You see that people in Japan are shocked, right? Although you don’t read Japanese, the headlines can kind of transfer that message … We’re shocked. We have fat, bold letters,” Nishimura said.

The headlines he shared from the front page of his own newspaper, the Nikkei Asian Review, read “Trump Wins Presidential Election, Declares Victory After Tight Race,” “Vows to Build Strong Economy” and “Americans Resort to Nonconformist for Nation’s Revival.”

According to Japanese media as a whole, Trump’s victory came as a result of rising financial inequality, the economic hardship of mostly the white middle class and the resentment of elites, government, immigrants and corporations.

However, America is not alone. Nishimura shared that the election has also caused Japan to look at many of its own financial inequality problems.

“Wealth is also becoming concentrated within the top 10 percent of the population of Germany and Japan,” read a recent article in the Nikkei Asian Review. “We now face the limitations of capitalism, which has pursued growth without addressing public concern.”

While it is still unclear what a Trump presidency will bring, it is clear that other countries are watching very closely because of the possible ramifications it may cause them on in international scale.

“It was very different, in a good way,” said sophomore Achyut Gautam. “We got a perspective of what other people felt during the election, how they are feeling now and how they feel about the future and how they will go about making policies.”