Most Japanese companies remained cautious Wednesday about the outlook for their U.S. operations after the midterm elections, seeing little possibility of change in President Donald Trump's protectionist policy.
"I presume that the impact on the Japanese economy would be very small," Akio Mimura, chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told a press conference, predicting no shift in U.S. trade policy although the midterm elections on Tuesday delivered a divided Congress.
"The election campaign centered on domestic agenda items such as immigration policy, while trade and other diplomatic issues were not major focuses," Mimura said.
Japanese businesses remain braced for potential tariff hikes on automobiles and auto parts by the Trump administration and are also closely watching the impact of the heightening trade friction between Washington and Beijing on the global economy.
"I am worried the Chinese economy will slow down," said an official at a major electronics company, while expressing hope that the Democratic Party's projected majority in the House of Representatives may lead to a softening of Republican President Trump's "America First" trade policy.
But a senior official at a major bank said, "There would be no change in the overall policy direction as Mr. Trump will do whatever he wants to do with his executive orders."
Some companies that have already adjusted their operations in response to Trump's emphasis on spurring investment and creating jobs in the United States, meanwhile, expressed worry about inconsistencies in the president's policy due to the divided Congress.
"I hope that rules on trade would not change significantly due to politics in the United States," said an official at a major automaker.