Obama reelected – what does it mean for Japan?

6 years ago by in Featured, Politics, World

President Barack Obama has been reelected for a second term in the United States, defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney, according to press reports.

Romney has admitted his defeat in a public speech and wished Obama good luck in his new term.

Of the total 538 electoral votes that are apportioned to 50 states and the District of Columbia according to the size of their populations, the winner needs at least 270. As of 1:15 a.m. Wednesday, Obama had 303 electoral votes and Romney 206, according to CNN, quoted by Kyodo.

President Obama is known to Japan since a few months after taking office, when he came to Tokyo, bowed (somewhat controversially) to the Emperor and told a story about the green-tea ice cream he had sampled during a boyhood visit, the Wall Street Journal writes.

Obama has had a smooth relation with Japan, even strengthened by close military cooperative relief work in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Even if tensed moments existed (like the American’s push for a controversial base relocation plan in Okinawa), it is expected that the cooperation will continue on good terms.

Obama will probably put more pressure on Japan to play a bigger role in regional security, while keeping an eye on China’s growing economic and military prowess.

In Japan, some are concerned that domestic fiscal constraints and the growing importance of China as an economic partner may reduce Washington’s commitment to Japan. No need for such worries, experts cited by the Wall Street Journal say.