Biden Criticizes Japan as “Xenophobic” for Limited Immigration

( – During a May 1 campaign fundraiser, President Joe Biden called Japan, an ally of the United States, “xenophobic” due to the country’s lower levels of immigration compared to the U.S.

During his speech, which kicked off the start of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Biden discussed the benefits of immigration and the upcoming election, which he said is about “freedom, America, and democracy.” He said because America welcomes immigrants “our economy is growing,” compared to China, Russia, India, and Japan, who he said are “xenophobic” and, therefore, “having trouble” and doing “badly economically.”

Biden suggested that those countries “don’t want immigrants,” adding that immigrants “want to be here and want to contribute” and make the U.S. “strong.”

While Russia and China are considered rival powers of the U.S., India and Japan are viewed as important allies.

On social media, some conservative Japanese lawmakers criticized Biden’s comments.

A member of the Nippon Ishin no Kai Party, Mizuho Umemura, wrote that European leaders are also struggling with the issue of immigration, adding that no country has “solved this problem as of now.” Umemura, a member of the House of Councilors, added that Biden should “solve the problem in New York before he says things like this.”

Sohei Kamiya, the leader of the Sansei Party and member of the House of Councilors, wrote that Japan is not xenophobic but is “being cautious after seeing your failures.”

However, on May 2, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communication John Kirby spoke about Biden’s comments, defending them, saying that Biden was attempting to make a “broader point,” which was that the United States is a “stronger” country because the U.S. is a “nation of immigrants.” He noted that the countries know Biden values them in “tangible ways.” Kirby added that the comments were about the United States and were not an attempt to criticize India and Japan.

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