Event takeaways: The US midterm elections’ impact on Japan

Changes in government in friendly countries are just as important as in hostile ones. At EICN Tokyo’s December 1st event, we discussed the implications of US midterm elections’ results on Japan’s future, which came at a time when geopolitical tensions and strained budgets are quickly changing governments’ priorities.

For those who missed it, here are some key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Like the rest of the world, Japan woke up on 9 November to find that the awaited “red wave” had not come to pass. For a country with an (equally expected) tradition of alignment with the US international policy, the overall prevalence of the status quo was a relief.
  • China is the top concern for Japan’s political analysts and strategists. The US expects Japan to enhance its self-defence capabilities, but the funding will probably come from higher taxes or fresh sovereign debt – neither an enticing prospect for the economy.
  • Japan is equally preoccupied with the increasing regulation of high-end technology commerce between America and China – a point of bipartisan agreement. For Japanese manufacturers of advanced electronics, such as semiconductors and semiconductor assembly machines, China is a top customer.

Special thanks to our speakers who regaled our members with their political analysis and outlook for the near future:

  • Asano Takaaki, General Manager and Senior Analyst at Sumitomo Corporation Global Research
  • Toshiyuki Matsuyama, Anchor of the Sunday news show “The Prime” and Director, Political News of Fuji Television
  • Tsuneo “Nabe” Watanabe, Senior Fellow of the Security Studies Program at Sasakawa Peace Foundation

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