A new Economist/YouGov poll released on March 14 has Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump garnering 53 percent of the GOP vote. This is the first time the front-runner has crossed the 50 percent benchmark in that poll.
YouGov notes the main reason Trump's supporters and his detractors believe he is so popular is because he is not "politically correct," although it's not clear what that phrase means.
Trump's popularity worries a number of officials in Japan, a country that Trump regularly bashes, along with China, regarding trade.
“To start with they just thought ‘he’s funny,'" Masatoshi Honda, a professor of politics at Kinjo University, told the Financial Times. “But recently they’re starting to worry — what happens if Trump wins?”
“I will take his remarks seriously when he is elected president,” Kuni Miyake, head of the Foreign Policy Institute in Tokyo, added.
“Media overreaction creates people like Trump, who represent the dark side of the US,” Miyake said. “I believe in the western democracies — in the end they’ll come up with a healthy outcome.”
Another worry in Japan is the possibility of the US pulling its troops out and leaving the country vulnerable to China and North Korea.
“Still fresh in our memory is the tremendous damage another Washington outsider, Jimmy Carter, did to East Asia’s security equation,” an unidentified foreign policy source, with ties to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration, stated.
“Had Carter indeed withdrawn US troops from the Korean peninsula at the peak of the Cold War, the world as we know it might well not have existed.”
Japanese officials are also worried that Trump's election might place the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership deal in jeopardy. Japan wants the trade deal to be ratified by Congress so that it can make more money in the American car market.
The Global Times, a newspaper in China, is also concerned about Trump.
The paper published an editorial on March 14 that stated: "Trump's mischief has overthrown a lot of conventional norms of US political life."
"His remarks are abusively racist and extremist, which has left an impression on the US public that he is intentionally overthrowing political correctness."
"....Big-mouthed, anti-traditional, abusively forthright, he is a perfect populist that could easily provoke the public. Despite candidates' promises, Americans know elections cannot really change their lives. Then, why not support Trump and vent their spleen?"
"The rise of a racist in the US political arena worries the whole world. Usually, the tempo of the evolution of US politics can be predicted, while Trump's ascent indicates all possibilities and unpredictability. He has even been called another Benito Mussolini or Adolf Hitler by some Western media."