Tags: obama | bow | japan | akihito

Obama Bow to Japanese Emperor Stirs Outrage

Sunday, 15 Nov 2009 08:54 AM


President Barack Obama bowed low to Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, and then added a number of smaller bows, before lunching with the couple on Saturday.

Obama, who is in the midst of a trip to Asia, went to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo for a rare meeting with Akihito and greeted him in the traditional Japanese manner.

A top Obama aide told Politico.com that the president was following protocol with the bow.

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“I think that those who try to politicize those things are just way, way, way off base,” the official said. “He observes protocol. But I don’t think anybody who was in Japan – who saw his speech and the reaction to it, certainly those who witnesses his bilateral meetings there – would say anything other than that he enhanced both the position and the status of the U.S., relative to Japan. It was a good, positive visit at an important time, because there’s a lot going on in Japan.”

Earlier this year, Obama was criticized for the way he greeted Saudi King Abdullah at a G-20 meeting. The National Republican Senatorial Committee said Obama bowed to Abdullah, while the White House insisted Obama simply bent over to shake hands with the shorter king.


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