Views From Abroad on United States Vote

A survey of world reaction to the election of Bill Clinton reveals cautious optimism, amid concerns about trade protectionism and disruptions in US foreign policy in the Middle East and China

Japan lauds Clinton's focus on economy, frets over trade.

OTHER than the fact that President-elect Bill Clinton likes karaoke singing, Japan has been hard-pressed to be upbeat about his election.

His vague campaign comments on trade protectionism, China, and Asian security, and the uncertainty over his empathy toward left-leaning Democrats in Congress, have officials here eager to form informal ties quickly with Clinton appointees.

Japan is also watching to see whether Mr. Clinton picks economic advisers who come from the so-called "revisionist" school that wants the US to treat Japan as a threat to Western capitalism. "It is believed Clinton will take a more severe position toward Japan," editorialized the nation's largest newspaper, Yomiuri.

A compelling reason for Japanese to take stock of Clinton quickly is that one of his first trips abroad as president will be to Tokyo. Japan is host to the 1993 summit of seven industrialized nations in July.

Most Japanese commentators praised Clinton for focusing on reviving the US economy. If he succeeds, Japan hopes to take less heat from Washington.

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