The Straits Times
Published on Dec 18, 2012

Incoming Japan PM Shinzo Abe in Obama-Bush gaffe


TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's presumptive premier Shinzo Abe got his US leaders mixed up Tuesday, when he told business chiefs he had been speaking to "President Bush" after a phone call from Mr Barack Obama.

The gaffe came in one of Mr Abe's first speaking engagements since his landslide victory in weekend polls that saw his Liberal Democratic Party returned to power.

Mr Abe, who was prime minister in 2006-7 during the final years of George W. Bush's presidency, quickly realised his error when assembled journalists and business leader began chuckling.

The 58-year-old corrected his verbal misstep and told officials from the Keidanren, Japan's business lobby, that he and Mr Obama had agreed on the importance of the Japan-US security alliance.