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Barack Obama's re-election reverberates far beyond US borders — so much so that citizens of some distant nations, like Pakistan and Turkey, say they too should have been able to vote. To give them a voice, GlobalPost interviewed people around the world for their views on the United States and who they hoped would win the election.

Japan

US Election: What if Japan could vote?

The Japanese are split over who should lead the US next.

 

TOKYO, Japan — As part of GlobalPost's project to interview 100 people in 20 locations around the world about the 2012 US election, we asked Japanese people:

Who do you want to win the 2012 US election?

Will the election affect your country?

How has your view of the US changed since President Obama took office?

What should the next US president do?

 

  • Name: Shohei Yamamoto
  • Country: Japan
  • Occupation: University student
  • Age: 21
  • I would vote for: Romney
My vote: "Romney. I'm not that hopeful whoever is in charge. The same goes for Japan, although I think it's about time that a new, more creative leader emerges in both countries."

The election's impact: "I'm concerned about the US' plans for its military bases in Okinawa, particularly the relocation of Futenma marine base. I have no idea how it's going to work out, but this is definitely the most pressing bilateral issue."

My view: "I was encouraged when Obama was elected, but over the last four years he has become a kind of idol figure rather than a leader who implements policy — and that's not a good thing."

Top priority: "I'm not sure if America can do anything, to be honest. I'd like to see it try to use its influence to make the world a more equal place."
  • Name: Mitsuhiro Hayashida
  • Country: Japan
  • Occupation: University student
  • Age: 20
  • I would vote for: Obama
My vote: "I'd vote for Obama. I know there's been criticism of his performance recently, but compared to Romney he's much better."

The election's impact: "Yes, it will have a big effect on Japan in the sense that leaders in both countries will have to listen to the voices of ordinary people. We know a lot about Obama but very little about Romney ... I think the differences between them will emerge soon."

My view: "If I had to go one way or the other, I'd say my opinion has improved. Anyone is better than George W. Bush."

Top priority: "Domestically, the next president's priority must be to address unemployment and the economy."
  • Name: Toru Murakami 
  • Country: Japan
  • Occupation: Delivery company employee
  • Age: 64
  • I would vote for: Obama
My vote: "Obama, I guess. I like his approach as I think he puts ordinary people first. But he has to do something urgently about the job situation and the weak economy."

The election's impact: "If Obama wins I don't expect any major changes. China seems to be more important to the US these days than Japan, but that's the fault of our government for being too timid. We need to change our [pacifist] constitution so we are not dependent on the US for our security."

My view: "Obama has been a bit of a disappointment, but I don't think anyone else could have done a better job."

Top priority: "It's all about the economy and reforming welfare — the same problems we have here in Japan. The next president should look at welfare reform while trying to boost the economy. And he should be much tougher on China regarding its human rights record."
  • Name: Yuko Hirono
  • Country: Japan
  • Occupation: Designer
  • Age: 33
  • I would vote for: Obama
My vote: "I'd vote for Obama. I'm not sure about specific policies, but I'd vote for the non-Republican candidate. I'd vote for the candidate with more liberal views and a more global outlook; someone with more environmentally friendly views."

The election's impact: "Yes, it will. The Japanese government is beholden to the US in some policy areas. The US has a big military presence in Japan, and that's particularly controversial in Okinawa. I just hope that America doesn't start any more wars, because that would affect Japan, which would obviously side with the US."

My view: "The US is better than it was under George W. Bush. The transfer of power from Bush to Obama has been a good thing, and I think Obama has done OK. He is fairer and more liberal, and seems to be a man of character. At least he hasn't started any unnecessary wars."

Top priority: "I'm not sure about US domestic policy, but as the US wields its power worldwide, it should do more about the environment and global problems. The US should lead by example on such issues as Obama's Green New Deal, but he hasn't achieved much on this, as far as I know."
  • Name: Mihoko Kurosawa
  • Country: Japan
  • Occupation: Student
  • Age: 28
  • I would vote for: Romney
My vote: "I'd vote for Romney. I believe that his support for lower taxes and less regulation in the market would be good for both the US and Japanese economies, companies and their employees."

The election's impact: "Yes If Romney wins, I think it will be easier for Japanese companies to do business in the US."

My view: "My opinion of the US has improved. President Obama has done some humane and impressive things, like reforming health care, and supporting gay marriage and abortion rights."

Top priority: "Economic recovery has to be the priority. People are expecting a smooth recovery from the recession."

GlobalPost series: See what the world thinks about election 2012

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/japan/120925/us-election-what-if-japan-could-vote