India, Japan Slam Biden’s Comments Calling the Countries ‘Xenophobic’

The leaders of India and Japan decried recent remarks that President Joe Biden made that their two countries are “xenophobic” because they don’t welcome immigrants at high enough rates.

Early last week, Biden made those comments while he was attending a fundraising event for his re-election campaign. He said that some countries, including India and Japan, weren’t succeeding enough in their economies because they weren’t diverse enough — since they don’t welcome immigrants like the U.S. does.

Not surprisingly, those two countries didn’t take kindly to the comments.

Japan’s leaders said that the judgment Biden had levied on them wasn’t based on an accurate understanding of the country’s policy. India also rebutted Biden’s comments, saying that they were the most open society in the world.

Biden grouped those two countries with China and Russia as he was attempting to explain why their economies were struggling. He contrasted those four countries with how strong the U.S. economy was, as it’s a “nation of immigrants.”

The comments were odd, considering that Japan is one of America’s key allies. Both India and Japan are also part of what’s known as the Quad — an informal partnership led by the U.S. that includes Australia as well. The goal of that partnership is to counter China in the Indo-Pacific region.

Only a few weeks ago, the U.S. president hosted Fumio Kishida, the prime minister of Japan, for an official visit in Washington. During their time together, the two world leaders re-stated the “unbreakable alliance” the countries have, and further agreed to reinforce the security ties they have as China continues to make threats in that region of the world.

Narenda Modi, the controversial prime minister of India, also made a state visit to the U.S. last year, as political and business leaders welcomed him with open arms.

The White House responded to some of the backlash to what the president said by claiming Biden didn’t mean any offense. He was only stressing how diverse the U.S. was because of the immigrants it welcomes, and that he didn’t have any intention of undermining the relationship that America has with Japan.

An anonymous official in the Japanese government wouldn’t comment on what Biden said, or how the White House clarified the comments. They only would say they were aware of what was said.

At the same time, that official said it was unfortunate that Biden’s speech wasn’t based on an accurate understanding of policies in Japan. The official further said Japan understands that the president made his remarks to emphasize how the presence of immigrants in America is what makes it strong.

The official concluded by saying that the relations between the U.S. and Japan are “stronger than ever,” as was showed when Kishida visited the U.S. back in April.

  1. Jaishankar, the minister of external affairs in India, over the weekend rebutted Biden’s comments by saying:

“I haven’t seen such an open, pluralistic and diverse society anywhere in the world. We are actually not just not xenophobic, we are the most open, most pluralistic and in many ways the most understanding society in the world.”