Japan govt. says Biden's 'xenophobic' comments 'regrettable'

The Japanese government has contacted the US government and said remarks by President Joe Biden calling Japan xenophobic were "regrettable."

At a campaign fundraising event on Wednesday, Biden reportedly said one of the reasons the US economy is growing is because it welcomes immigrants.

He went on to say: "Why is China stalling so badly economically? Why is Japan having trouble? Why is Russia? Why is India? Because they're xenophobic. They don't want immigrants."

Japanese government sources say Tokyo told Washington that it was "regrettable" that the remarks were not based on an accurate understanding of Japanese policies.

They say Tokyo then explained Japan's position and policies to Washington.

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked by a reporter about Biden's remarks. The reporter described the word xenophobic as pejorative and negative, particularly when used against an ally.

Jean-Pierre explained that Biden was making a broader point about how immigrants make the US stronger. She stressed the US-Japan relationship is an important, deep and enduring alliance.