U.S. Democrat victory may mean heat for Japan (KOHEI MURAYAMA, 11/09/06, Japan Times)
U.S. President George W. Bush is unlikely to change his policies toward Japan but he is expected to face stronger pressure from Congress to address issues that include trade, visits to Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese leaders and Japan’s wartime sex slaves.
With his Republican Party losing its grip on the House of Representatives for the first time in 12 years in Tuesday’s midterm elections, Bush will also probably face pressure from Democrats to do something about the ballooning trade deficit with China and to enter talks with North Korea over its nuclear weapons.
Bush is scheduled to hold his first talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Nov. 18 on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit in Hanoi. The two leaders are expected to pledge to deepen the bilateral security alliance, which Bush sees as a pillar of his Asia policy, and to press for a resumption of the six-party talks on ending North Korea’s nuclear threat.
With gridlock in DC the President will likely visit allies quite a bit more often in his last two years and it would make all the sense in the world for him to tour the Islamic world, including Iran, as Reagan went to Moscow.