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A Second Trump Presidency is 'Nothing For Us to Worry About'

Mr Trump is easy to understand and nothing to fear, the author says, but without Shinzo Abe, current leaders need to devise a new approach to win his trust.



Former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a rally in advance of the New Hampshire presidential primary election in Rochester, New Hampshire, on January 21, 2024. (©REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Recently, this writer has received numerous emails and letters asking, "Will [Donald] Trump win?" and "What will happen if he does?" Naturally, I would love to respond to all of them individually, but I will instead answer them here collectively. 

It Doesn't Take an Expert

First of all, note that this writer's main field is domestic politics and railroads. I conduct interviews and ride trains, writing articles on both these subjects in an entertaining manner. I have also just published a book titled (in Japanese) The Collapse of the Liberal Democratic Party (Business-sha, Inc.). American affairs are, therefore, beyond the purview of my fields of expertise. (Above all, I do not speak English.)

When analyzing foreign affairs, I rely on public information from domestic and foreign newspapers, television, and various publications. I also receive information from my colleagues at The Sankei Shimbun. You could call it open-source intelligence (OSINT), but I'm really just a casual observer.  

So why would readers ask me about the possibility of a second Trump presidency? The reason is that, just after the United States presidential election eight years ago, I wrote an article titled "The Case for Trump." 

At the time, most newspapers and television stations were covering and commentating on the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. They all assumed she would win. Pundits were so upset by Trump's unexpected victory, that some of them called him and his championing of "America First" a "nightmare."

Republican presidential candidate and former US President Donald Trump attends a rally ahead of the New Hampshire primary election in Manchester, New Hampshire, on January 20, 2024. (©Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

The Case for Trump

This cantankerous writer concluded that such was not the case. In my original article, I argued the following.

"The carefree world of arguing about what to do with Article 9 of the Constitution and national security legislation within the framework of the Japan-US Security Treaty is now a thing of the past. Japan should aim to become a great nation. One that is not overly dependent on the US, either militarily or economically."

So, how did things play out?


Following the election, then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe swiftly dispatched his special adviser, Katsuyuki Kawai, to the US. (He's currently on parole for violating the Public Offices Election Law). This allowed Abe to hold an unprecedented summit meeting with Trump before he assumed office, building a relationship of trust. 

Trump and European leaders were often at odds with one another. By contrast, Abe often served as an intermediator between them at summits and other meetings, coordinating their discussions. As a sign of Japan-US relations at the time, Trump made no unreasonable demands of Japan.

Moreover, during the four years of Trump's presidency, there were no major global conflicts. Even the situation on the Korean Peninsula was briefly peaceful.

Why? Because "America First" as a principle was so easy to understand. Its candid nature eliminated the guesswork for countries wondering what they could expect from the US. Paradoxically, "America First" kept North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other dictators in check. They no doubt trembled in fear over what might happen should they provoke America. Russian President Vladimir Putin also refrained from invading Ukraine.

President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe(2017)

Without Shinzo Abe

Now to answer your questions. Having also won the Republican primary in New Hampshire, there is no doubt that Trump will be the Republican presidential nominee. So what about the election in November?

While there are no absolutes in elections, barring some incredible mishap, Trump will take back the White House. The hardships of life caused by inflation brought on by the Joe Biden administration have counteracted American suspicion of the former president.

However, former Prime Minister Abe is no longer here to steer Japan. If Japan fails to devise how to approach Trump now, it could become an absolute nightmare this time. There has been enough small talk about what to do about party factions. It is time to get down to business. 


(Read the column in Japanese.)

Author: Masato Inui, columnist


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