Did the Japanese first lady really snub Trump at G20 dinner?World
A dinner hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel for G20 leaders and their spouses made the news on Thursday and set the internet alight after social media users and journalists began wondering whether the Japanese first lady pretended not to know English to avoid speaking to United States President Donald Trump.
The controversy began after Trump, in an interview with The New York Times, said that he found the dinner "hard" to bear because he was seated next to Akie Abe, the Japanese first lady, who he claim did not speak his language.
People on the internet were quick to question Trump's claim because Abe, in 2014, had appeared as a Keynote speaker at a Ford Foundation ceremony where she addressed the audience for over ten minutes in English.
As speculations over Abe's 'snub' began, Trump's critics started hailing her as their hero.
Some publications took jabs at Trump: "Japan's first lady Akie Abe mysteriously couldn't speak English when she met Donald Trump at G-10," a Newsweek headline read. "Trump falsely claims Japanese first lady doesn’t speak English', The New York Post declared.
Others, including The Washington Post, considered the possibility of Abe actually not knowing much English in the first place. What was being characterised as a snub could have "more likely been a convergence of Abe's limited English abilities and a desire not to misspeak," a Washington Post article said.
The Japanese and American journalists have since been trying to find out how much of English the Japanese first lady knows with almost everyone close to the Japanese premier agreeing that she definitely knows how to say hello, unlike Trump's claim. But, according to The Washington Post, very few instances of her speaking in English are recorded, and those who have interacted with her on previous trips to US confirm that she may not be as comfortable conversing in the language.
"Maybe the issue isn't Akie Abe's conversational skills, but Donald Trump's?" a New York Times reporter suggested.