In a poorly researched appearance on Monday (it was Sunday here — Japan is 14 hours ahead of us), President Donald Trump once again put his ignorance on full display in front of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. From Bloomberg:
“In a joint press briefing with Abe in Tokyo on Monday, Trump hailed the U.S.-Japan alliance even as he called for a reduction in the trade gap between the countries. Trump reeled off several possibilities, including missile-defense systems, missiles and F-35 fighter jets.”
Trump said he felt it was important that the prime minister would be purchasing “massive amounts of military equipment, as he should.” He finished the thought by making a dig at North Korea, then stating, “It’s a lot of jobs for us and a lot of safety for Japan.” What he neglected to mention was a previous announcement by Abe:
“Japan is buying Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35A fighter jets and missile interceptors from Raytheon Co. — deals that had previously been announced. He [Abe] said Japan would buy more Aegis equipment from the U.S. for its ships.”
No new deals have been struck during this trip. This is old news, but news that Trump was apparently not aware of. Or maybe his “great memory” failed him again. But what happened next is the icing on the cake. Trump went on to complain about the trade deficit with Japan, saying:
“I have to say that for the last many decades, Japan has been winning. And you do know that.”
That led into a lecture from Trump about how Japan should build their cars in the United States rather than shipping them over. The idiocy is that Japan already DOES THAT — to the tune of three out of every four cars sold in this country are built here, using American laborers, using U.S. parts suppliers. From a 2015 report in Columbus Business First:
“Honda Motor Co., the first Japanese brand to open a U.S. assembly plant, which it did in Marysville [Ohio] back in 1982. Honda employs more than 14,000 across multiple facilities here, not to mention its supplier network.”
In a comprehensive breakdown, the data on how much Japanese auto manufacturers are invested in U.S.-based plants and other support facilities is staggering.
Here are a few more figures from the association’s research:
- 3.85 million: units produced in 2015
- 417,699: units exported from the U.S. in 2015
- $45.4 billion: cumulative investment in the past 40 years
- 87,788: direct employees (including manufacturing, R&D, office and other)
- 60,640: manufacturing employees
- 375,143: dealership employees
- 462,931: total employees (including dealerships)
- 26: manufacturing plants
- 36: R&D facilities
- 17: states with a Japanese auto facility
The overall investment in U.S.-based plants and facilities is especially amazing when you compare the size of the two countries. “$45.4 billion: cumulative investment in the past 40 years” and almost half a million tax-paying American employees.
This from a country slightly smaller than the state of California. The total surface area of the United States is 26 times greater than that of Japan. While the U.S. population (316.67 million) is just under two and a half times that of Japan (127.25 million), their economy and the number of people existing below the poverty line ranks better than the U.S. While Trump is working on “improving” our trade deals with Japan, maybe he could study what they’re doing in that tiny country that allows them to provide better for their citizens than the U.S. does for hers.
Trump also forgot to remember that Japan is investing $1.6 billion to build a new U.S. manufacturing plant that will be creating another 4,000 American jobs. He used to know that, but it must have slipped his mind, because he tweeted about it in August:
Toyota & Mazda to build a new $1.6B plant here in the U.S.A. and create 4K new American jobs. A great investment in American manufacturing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2017
So, while he continues to lambaste Japan on their lack of participation in making America great, he neglected to mention the things Japan is already doing here in the U.S. Trump promised that he and Abe were having “major discussions” about trade during his trip, but nothing was really accomplished.
We’re pretty sure that Abe knows that anything coming out of Trump’s mouth is only meant to blow Trump’s own horn and will not be very beneficial to promulgating any type of deals, agreements, or promoting business for the U.S. unless it involves something with the Trump name affixed to it.
Featured image from YouTube video