Japan and India reject Biden’s comments that they are xenophobic

(Tokyo) Japan and India on Saturday denounced comments by US President Joe Biden calling them “xenophobic” countries that do not welcome immigrants, something the president said at a fundraising event for his campaign earlier this week.

Japan said Mr Biden’s judgment was not based on an accurate understanding of his policies, while India refuted the comment, defending itself as the world’s most open society.

Mr Biden grouped Japan and India as “xenophobic” countries, alongside Russia and China, as he tried to explain their struggling economies, pitting the four against US force. United as a nation of immigrants.

Japan is a key ally of the United States. Japan and India are part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), an informal US-led partnership that also includes Australia to counter an increasingly assertive China in the Indo-Pacific region.

Just weeks ago, Mr. Biden hosted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on an official visit, as the two leaders reaffirmed their “unbreakable alliance” and agreed to strengthen their security ties in the face of the Chinese threat in the ‘Indo-Pacific.

Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi also made a state visit to Washington last year, where he was greeted by business and political leaders.

The White House said Mr. Biden meant no offense and was simply emphasizing that the United States was a nation of immigrants, saying he did not intend to undermine relations with Japan.

Japan is aware of Mr. Biden’s remark as well as the resulting clarifications, a Japanese government official said on Saturday, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.

The official said it was regrettable that part of Mr. Biden’s speech was not based on an accurate understanding of Japanese policies, and that Japan understands that President Biden made the remark to highlight the presence of immigrants as the strength of the United States.

Relations between Japan and the United States are “stronger than ever,” as Prime Minister Kishida demonstrated during his visit to the United States in April, the official said.

In New Delhi, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar also refuted Mr Biden’s comment on Saturday, saying India was the most open society in the world.

“I have never seen such an open, pluralistic and diverse society anywhere in the world. Not only are we not xenophobic, but we are the most open, pluralistic and, in many ways, understanding society in the world,” Mr. Jaishankar said at a panel discussion organized by the newspaper Economic Times.

Mr. Jaishankar also noted that India’s annual GDP growth is 7% and said, “Check the growth rate of some other countries, you will find an answer.” The US economy grew 2.5% in 2023, according to government figures.

At a hotel fundraiser on Wednesday, where the donor audience was largely made up of Asian Americans, Mr. Biden said the upcoming U.S. election is about “freedom, America and freedom.” democracy” and that the country’s economy was thriving “thanks to you and many others.”

” For what ? Because we welcome immigrants, Mr. Biden said. Listen, think about it. Why is China experiencing such economic stagnation? Why is Japan having trouble? Why Russia? Why India? Because they are xenophobic. They don’t want immigrants. »

Japan is known for its strict stance on immigration. But in recent years, the country has relaxed its policies to make it easier for foreign workers to enter and stay in Japan, to mitigate falling birth rates and a rapid population decline. The number of babies born in Japan last year fell to a record low since Japan began compiling statistics in 1899.

India, which has the world’s largest population, enacted a new citizenship law earlier this year setting religious criteria that allows for expedited naturalization of Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians who fled to India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, while excluding Muslims.

source site-59