Impact of Biden’s Xenophobia Comment on Asian Politics

The United States Presidential race is heating up. President Joe Biden, appearing aged and sluggish, intends to seek another term for the presidential role. The Democrat, known for his pro-migration stance, consistently supports and welcomes immigrants. Biden’s recent comment favoring the country’s migration policy, in comparison with Asia, is emerging as a controversial topic in the political sphere. At last week’s event to raise funds for his 2024 re-election campaign, Biden remarked that their welcoming stance towards immigrants was a contributing factor to their growth of the economy. He proceeded with the economic struggles of China, Japan, Russia, and India, attributing them to their xenophobic reluctance to accept immigrants. Biden underscored the strength immigrants bring to a nation, but with negative comments on rivals China and Russia, and interestingly towards Japan and India. Such a seemingly casual remark from a seasoned politician has the potential to impact foreign relationships badly.

Biden’s comments against Asian countries’ xenophobia, were only meant to target Trump’s policies, but they made news in the Asian political landscape. Despite Russia, China, and India being multi-ethnic countries historically welcoming foreigners, their immigration policies do not resemble those of the United States or Western countries today. These countries’ stringent immigration laws and high population numbers coupled with a low job market, make them unattractive destinations for migration. These countries have significant multi-ethnic cities, such as Hong Kong, Mumbai, and Moscow, but small cities and villages usually don’t have that multi ethnic color. Though these countries’ populations and religions are generally open to foreigners, their politicians often run campaigns against immigrants. The stringent regulations are directly linked with politics. The countries are notorious for campaigns against the US, and which is often referred to as Xenophobia. But the comments against these countries by Biden, used by politicians in these countries, are being used to further escalate anti-American sentiments. However, mentioning Japan in the comment, a staunch ally of the United States, adds an intriguing dimension to the discussion.

Japan is more notorious for xenophobia than other countries in Biden’s comment, and historically, this trait has been visible in Japanese society. The nation, which prides itself on its homogeneity, has long been hesitant about immigration. However, its falling birth rate and rapidly aging population point to an acute labor shortage in the coming decades. Many experts believe that Japan’s lagging economy is a result of its strict regulations on immigration. In the case of Japan, Biden’s comment is actually true. However, Making a negative comment on Japan alongside comments about enemy nations is a blow for Japan. Japan has been described as “Regrettable”, the top government spokesperson said on Tuesday. Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, Yoshimasa Hayashi informed at a scheduled regular news conference that representations had been lodged with the United States. These representations indicated that the comment was not based on the correct understanding of Japan’s migration policy and was regrettable. Japan’s ties with its security ally, the United States, remain solid. Nevertheless, this type of comment will definitely affect people’s mood.

Only a few weeks before, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited Washington for a summit with Biden and unveiled plans for military cooperation and projects ranging from missiles to moon landings to strengthen ties with an eye toward countering China and Russia. At this time, mentioning Japan was an unnecessary move by Biden. At Least it doesn’t need  to be criticized along with the enemy states. China and Russia already have strained connections with America. Regarding India, they were moved towards the direction of the U.S. during Trump. But, Biden’s comment has already made headlines in India, and it could worsen the relationship. This is certainly a blunder by Biden at a time when strong alliances with Japan and India are needed to counter the growing influence of China and Russia in the continent. While Trump was accused by Biden of damaging foreign relations, Biden’s actions may be causing even more harm to the United States’ foreign relationships.