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Japan closely watches the US presidential election

After the result of the election is known, the Japanese government is expected to consider a timing for Suga to visit the United States for a meeting with the winner of the poll. The bilateral alliance with the United States is the cornerstone of Japan's diplomacy. (AFP)
After the result of the election is known, the Japanese government is expected to consider a timing for Suga to visit the United States for a meeting with the winner of the poll. The bilateral alliance with the United States is the cornerstone of Japan's diplomacy. (AFP)
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04 Nov 2020 02:11:40 GMT9
04 Nov 2020 02:11:40 GMT9

Arab News Japan

As President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are locked in tight races in battleground states across the United States Wednesday, members of the Japanese government have expressed the importance of the US presidential election to the country by saying that they are paying close attention.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Wednesday that the Japanese government is carefully waiting to confirm the result of Tuesday’s US presidential election, for which vote counting has started.

“We’ll continue to wait, with great attention, to confirm the outcome of the election, including what could happen as a result,” the top Japanese government spokesman said at a press conference.

Given the changes in voting methods this year, the declaration of a winner is expected to take time.

The Japanese Finance Miniter Taro Aso reaffirmed that Japan is keeping a close eye on the US presidential election, saying that Japan cannot help but have a strong interest in the progressions of the election regardless of who wins, since the US and Japan have close ties that range from the economy to defense. Aso added that no predictions can be made on how the results of elections, which may take time, will affect financial markets.

However, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who said that he was closely watching how the outcome of the US presidential election could affect markets, mentioned that exchange rate moves have been relatively stable recently, helping lift Japanese exports and overseas investment.

“It’s extremely important to keep exchange-rate moves stable,” Kuroda told an online meeting with business leaders in Nagoya, central Japan, on Wednesday.

“As a central bank, we won’t act directly to stabilize markets. But we of course will work closely with financial authorities and overseas central banks to help keep currency moves stable,” he said.

Kuroda said he was aware of various market views on how the US election could affect dollar moves, but declined to give his take on the currency market outlook, according to Reuters. “We’ll closely watch global and economic market developments, including those after the U.S. presidential election,” he said, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, according to JIJI Press, Kuroda has voiced caution against possible financial market turmoil related to the US election, such as a spike in the yen, saying that “I’m concerned that foreign exchange rates will be swayed” by the poll.

The US dollar jumped and risk-sensitive currencies weakened on Wednesday as early results in the US presidential election showed a very tight race, prompting a wind-back of bets on a victory by Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

The Japanese government, which holds the Japan-US alliance as the cornerstone of Japan’s diplomacy, plans to consider a timing for the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to visit the US for a meeting with the winner of the poll, after the result of the election is declared.

Suga said at Wednesday’s meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives that he would “refrain” from commenting on the presidential election at the moment. 

While Suga refrained to comment on the US presidential election at the moment, he told a parliamentary session that “the Japan-US alliance is the foundation of Japanese diplomacy, and on that premise I will develop solid relationship with a new president,” as reported by AP.

The US presidential election hung in the balance on Wednesday, with a handful of states set to decide the outcome in the coming hours or days. Trump and Biden both still have possible paths to reach the needed 270 Electoral College votes to win the White House, as states keep counting mail-in ballots that surged amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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