MIT Senior Fellow Yukio Okamoto, University of Tokyo Professor Fumiaki Kubo, Sojitz Research Institute Chief Economist Tatsuhiko Yoshizaki, and University of Tokyo Professor Robert Campbell discussed the U.S. presidential election. The panelists expressed concern over the popularity of Donald Trump that apparently reflects American people’s frustration with socioeconomic disparity. The discussants expressed the view that despite her current election rhetoric opposing the TPP, Hillary Clinton will eventually support the free trade pact if she becomes president.
Concerning the possibility of President Obama visiting Hiroshima during his trip to Japan in late May, all of the panelists expressed the hope that the President will visit the A-bombed city. Okamoto speculated that the American people would not oppose it if the President were to offer condolences rather than apologizing to those who died in the bombing. Kubo said a visit to Hiroshima would make sense for President Obama’s agenda on nuclear disarmament and that it would be meaningful for the press corps traveling with the President to learn firsthand about the impact of the atomic bombing. Yoshizaki said that a visit to Hiroshima by the President would deliver a strong message in line with his speech in Prague in 2009 and expressed his hope that Prime Minister Abe will visit Pearl Harbor to demonstrate historical reconciliation between the U.S. and Japan. Campbell stated that the sincere and powerful message delivered by Secretary of State Kerry in Hiroshima was historically significant and that his visit to the city has helped to pave the way for a visit by the President.