Japan protests Biden’s claim linking economic woes to ‘xenophobia’ – media

Tokyo has expressed disagreement with the US president’s comments, saying they lacked “an accurate understanding” of the country’s policies

Japan has pushed back against US President Joe Biden’s claim that Tokyo’s economic difficulties stem from a national dislike of foreigners, putting the remarks down to a lack of knowledge, according to Jiji news agency.
On Wednesday, speaking at a fundraiser in Washington, Biden argued that the US has been able to sustain its economic growth by embracing immigration. “Why is China stalling so badly economically? Why is Japan having trouble? Why is Russia? Why is India? Because they’re xenophobic. They don’t want immigrants,” he said.
Biden’s comments came several weeks after he heaped praise on the close relationship with Japan, a key US ally in the Indo-Pacific.
The White House has sought to downplay the controversy, with national security spokesman John Kirby saying the president wanted to make a point about America’s immigrant “DNA,” and not insult other countries. He added that US partners are well aware that Biden values their friendship and cooperation.

According to Jiji news agency, the Japanese government has lodged a protest with the US government, saying: “it is unfortunate that his comments were not based on an accurate understanding of Japan’s policies.”
Only 2.29% of Japan’s population is of foreign origin, and the country recently slipped into a recession caused by a slowdown in business and consumer spending.
India also rejected Biden’s comments, with Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar claiming: “We are actually not just not xenophobic, we are the most open, most pluralistic and in many ways the most understanding society in the world.” He recalled that India has demonstrated robust annual GDP growth of 7%, while the US economy gained only 2.5% last year.
Russia – which is home to several million foreign nationals and relies on migrant labor in several sectors of the economy – also pushed back against the criticism.
“Is it Russia that introduces sometimes absolutely gangster-like restrictions on companies, solely guided by the criteria of nationality?” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that Biden’s “xenophobia” remark “reflects exactly the opposite reality.”
Biden’s own immigration policies have been at the center of a heated public debate, with Republicans accusing the White House of failing to stop the influx of illegal arrivals on the southern border.