Japanese media and fans swoon over Canadian PM Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arriving at Ise-Jingu Shrine on May 26, the first day of the G-7 leaders summit.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arriving at Ise-Jingu Shrine on May 26, the first day of the G-7 leaders summit.PHOTO: AFP

ISE-SHIMA, JAPAN (AFP) - From the country that gave the world "Bieber Fever", Canada's "other Justin" - heart-throb Prime Minister Justin Trudeau - has made quite a splash on his visit to Japan for the Group of Seven (G-7) summit.

Japanese media and growing legions of female fans have been swooning over the 44-year-old leader, who celebrated his 11th wedding anniversary earlier this week by taking the day off to go on a romantic date with wife Sophie at Tokyo's Meiji Shrine.

Social media lit up, many users reposting photos of Canada's first couple strolling hand in hand through the shrine's pristine gardens, proving that even politicians have a soft side.

Mr Trudeau has been dubbed "ikemen shusho" - Japanese for "hunky PM" - by local media and fans, some of whom took to Twitter to post bare-chested photos of the premier, commenting on the "cool" tattoo of a raven on his left arm.

Others gleefully reposted photos that have appeared previously in the media of Mr Trudeau boxing or in various yoga poses, with a young female fan still in high school commenting: "He looks like the actor Tom Cruise."

Mr Trudeau swept to power last October as Canada's first new leader in nearly a decade.

He has already made a positive impression with other world leaders and has struck up a close rapport with US President Barack Obama, teasing him about his grey hair at a White House dinner in March.

While most Japanese fans cooed that Mr Trudeau was "hot" or "gorgeous", and another said he was "too perfect", others praised him for using "personal funds" to stay in a traditional Japanese inn with his wife before heading to Ise-Shima for the G-7 summit.

An article in the Japanese tabloid Sports Daily contrasted Mr Trudeau's conscientious attitude to public service to that of under-fire Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe, who is embroiled in scandal after allegedly using taxpayers' money for family vacations.

The piece also noted a backlash online, calling for Mr Masuzoe to learn from Mr Trudeau, with one wag commenting: "If that had been Masuzoe, he would have used public funds."

A piece in online platform Naver noted, however, that Mr Trudeau was not the only G-7 leader to set hearts aflutter, carrying a windswept photo of Italian Premier Matteo Renzi chewing on his sunglasses and gazing wistfully into the distance.