January 31, 2017 – With a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and new U.S. President Donald Trump set for Feb. 10, the Japanese government has been dodging any direct criticism of Trump’s executive order locking refugees out of the United States.
Trump’s order suspends entry of refugees to the U.S. for 120 days, and bars Syrian refugees indefinitely. It also imposes a 90-day ban on citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations from coming to the U.S.
Yesterday’s House of Councillors Budget Committee meeting, Abe said of Trump’s executive order, “It expresses the thinking of the U.S. government, so I am not in a position to comment on it.”
Opposition Democratic Party lawmaker Yoshihiko Noda shot back that “there is a need to keep a close eye on how it (the Trump order) will affect Japan. Has your mind gone blank?”
Japanese Communist Party member Akira Koike added, “You are in a position to comment. Is it all right for the Japanese administration to be unable to speak its mind?”
Meanwhile, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters at a news conference, “The Japanese government has an interest in how the presidential order regarding immigration policy is being implemented, and is watching the situation closely.”
One executive with a major trading house with many foreign workers at its U.S. offices said, “It seems that we don’t have many employees from countries subject to the (Trump) order, but it’s possible that our business could be impacted should the entry ban continue.”
Representatives for trading firms Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsui & Co. said that they haven’t been affected by the ban as of yet, but that they would “pay close attention to the situation.” However, another trading house executive told the Mainichi, “It’s possible that the ban (on entering the U.S.) could be extended to those who have spent a long time living in the countries covered. I’m anxious about this.”
Meanwhile, president of internet services giant Rakuten Inc. Hiroshi Mikitani tweeted yesterday, “I am very sad to see what is happening now in the US,” and, “it is wrong as a human being to (uniformly) discriminate based on religion and nationality. We will make sure we will support our Muslim staff members as a company and personally as well.”