TOKYO — Japanese politicians of varying party affiliations are voicing their concern over a tweet by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump that slammed Toyota Motor for plans to build a new plant in Mexico.
Hakubun Shimomura, executive acting secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told reporters Friday that Trump was misunderstanding what was happening. “Toyota-related facilities in the U.S. are not moving to Mexico, so his criticism missed the mark,” he said.
“It would be a good thing for Americans too if Toyota made good, cheap cars in Mexico and supplied them to the U.S.,” Shigeru Ishiba, former LDP secretary-general, said in a TV appearance.
“Toyota has explained that it will maintain its jobs and output in the U.S.,” an LDP official said. “Besides, I don’t think it’s appropriate for politicians to comment on private-sector businesses.”
“The Japanese government needs to approach this knowing that it is dealing with a difficult opponent,” said Yuichiro Tamaki, deputy secretary-general of the Democratic Party, the leading opposition party.
“Bluffing may be a valid strategy in the private sector, but it could erode trust when used as a tool in foreign policy,” said former Defense Minister Akihisa Nagashima of Japan’s Democratic Party, who is close with officials from the U.S. Republican Party.
“This raises the question of whether we should continue to center our foreign policy on the U.S.,” said the Japanese Communist Party’s Akira Koike.