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Biden’s description of Japan as xenophobic is ‘unfortunate’: Tokyo

Biden's description of Japan as xenophobic is 'unfortunate': Tokyo
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Japan hit back Saturday at US President Joe Biden’s comments about the Asian ally being “xenophobic” like China and Russia, calling the characterisation “unfortunate” and misguided.

Biden lumped together allies Japan and India with rivals China and Russia at a recent campaign event, arguing the four economic powers were struggling because of their unwillingness to accept immigrants.

“Why is China stalling so badly economically? Why is Japan in trouble? Why is Russia in trouble? And India? Because they’re xenophobic. They don’t want immigrants,” the president said on Wednesday.

“One of the reasons why our economy is growing is because of you and many others. Why? Because we welcome immigrants,” the president added.

In response, Tokyo on Saturday said it was “unfortunate that comments not based on an accurate understanding of Japan’s policy were made”, according to a government statement.

The Japanese government had already delivered this message to the White House and explained once again about its policies and stances, the statement said.

Biden’s remarks came less than a month after he hosted a lavish state dinner for his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida in a rare gesture of high-level diplomacy.

The 81-year-old Democrat’s unexpected digs at Japan soon prompted the White House to tone them down.

The president was merely trying to send a broader message that “the United States is a nation of immigrants,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

“It’s in our DNA”, he said.

Tokyo, for its part, said this clarification hadn’t been lost.

“We’re aware of the US government’s explanation that the comments in question weren’t made for the purpose of harming the importance and perpetuity of the Japan-US relationships”, its statement said.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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