U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has drawn the ire of Japan’s media over his comment that America wrote Japan’s Constitution.
A popular front-page column in the national Asahi newspaper said this week that the comment “was unprecedented in its insensitivity” and “could even be considered arrogant.”
Biden made the comments as he launched an attack on Republican candidate Donald Trump on Monday for saying that Japan might need to consider obtaining nuclear weapons in the future.
The vice president said: “He [Trump] talks cavalierly about encouraging other nations … to develop nuclear weapons.”
“Where was he when in school?” Biden asked. “Someone who lacks this judgment cannot be trusted. He’s not qualified to know the [nuclear] codes.
“Does he not understand we wrote Japan’s Constitution to say that they could not be a nuclear power?”
Biden’s blunt remarks raised eyebrows in the international community and caused outright anger in some circles in Japan.
In the popular ‘Vox Populi’ column, which runs on the front page of the Asahi daily, the newspaper said, “As a statement made by a sitting vice president of the United States, it was unprecedented in its ‘insensitivity’.”
“Biden’s remark in Pennsylvania, made as if in deliberate disregard of postwar historical reality, could even be considered arrogant,” it added.
The column goes on to refute Biden’s statement with a clear explanation of how the Japanese constitution came into being.
The constitution was drafted by U.S. forces occupying Japan after World War II, though Japan modified the draft somewhat before adoption.
Notably, the constitution does not specifically mention nuclear weapons. Article 9 says the Japanese people “forever renounce war” and says Japan will never maintain “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential.”
Some have speculated that Biden’s comments could embolden those who want to revise the postwar charter.
Additional reporting from Associated Press