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Yomiuri, Japan

Fiscal Cliff Awaits President Obama

Translated By Kenny Nagata

8 November 2012

Edited by Hana Livingston

Japan - Yomiuri - Original Article (Japanese)

Democratic incumbent Barack Obama defeated Republican candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to win re-election.

President Obama will face a pressing issue in his second term. For the time being, the financial crisis has been overcome, and now economic reform is on the way. We want America to exhibit strong leadership as they take on this big role and responsibility.

President Obama was unable to fulfill his promise to cut the deficit at least in half by the end of his first term. Job creation also didn’t progress and the unemployment rate has remained stagnant around 8 percent.

Despite that, he was re-elected, due to a generally positive economic recovery and his achievements in the field of national security.

Shortly after taking office, he implemented an economic stimulus package and stabilized the financial system. He saved General Motors, and it can be said that he saved America from bank failures and another Great Depression.

He ended the war in Iraq, which had been his “failed inheritance,” and has paved the way for American military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Governor Romney’s failure was largely due to his attacks on the president’s economic failures, while being unable to show his own comprehensive economic strategy.

Obama’s top priority is balancing economic policy and economic reform.

Moving into the next year, major tax reductions are due to expire and a mandatory cut in annual expenditures will be implemented, culminating in a “fiscal cliff.” If no action is taken, the result will be a major economic reduction that could cause America to fall into a deep recession. The influence on Japan and the rest of the world will be serious.

The cooperation of Congress is necessary in order to overcome this trial.

In the congressional elections, the Republicans retained majority of the House and the Democrats of the Senate, with no major changes in composition. Obama will have to invest all of his power to push through necessary legislation and prevent economic chaos.

Security and diplomatic policy issues, such as North Korea, nuclear development in Iran and the situation in Syria, are piling up like a mountain.

What America needs to be particularly careful of is its policy on China, whose economy and military are expanding rapidly.

As a “Pacific nation,” America’s strategy in its focus on Asia has great influence on the stability and prosperity of the region. Where do they stand with their ally Japan, and what kind of relationship will they build with China?

Japan, having been an early participant in the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership, needs to coordinate political cooperation. While fulfilling our own role, we must further strengthen the relationship between Japan and America.



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