IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS: Japan offers Clinton respite
And as the committee chairman, Henry Hyde, raised his gavel to call the opening session to order, Mr Clinton had just emerged from a televised "town hall" meeting of the sort that has become a trademark of his foreign trips. If he had hoped that Japanese reticence and etiquette would save him from embarrassment, though, he was wrong.
The Lewinsky scandal had pursued him across the globe. Bowing respectfully, a Japanese woman asked him how he had apologised to his wife and daughter and whether they had forgiven him. "I did it in a direct and straightforward manner," he replied, slightly hesitantly, "and I believe they did, yes... But that is really a question you could ask them better than me."
This, though, was the first and last question on the sex scandal. After the President's answer, the moderator quickly changed the subject back to the weightier economic and political subjects he had come to Japan to discuss.
Sounding more positive about Japan's economic reforms and more optimistic about the results than on previous occasions, Mr Clinton said: "The big things that have been done here are essentially moving in the right direction - the banking reform, stimulating the economy." While repeating Washington's perennial call for Japan to open its markets more to foreign competition and exercise more regional leadership, Mr Clinton also paid tribute to what Tokyo had already done. "Despite economic difficulties at home," he said, "you've contributed towards financial relief in the[Asian] region. That is true leadership."
In pictures: Saturn images from Cassini probe as it prepares to turn lens towards Earth
Serena Williams apologises after comment that rape victim 'shouldn't have put herself in that position'
FBI finds possible human remains at former home of late gangster James Burke - the man who inspired Goodfellas
'Theres something quite unpleasant going on': Nigel Farage confronted for second time on visit to Scotland
World news in pictures
- 1 Bankers could face jail after report urges the Government to introduce new criminal offence for reckless management
- 2 Breaking the Silence: In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists
- 3 Richard Nieuwenhuizen death: Six teenagers and 50-year-old father convicted of manslaughter in shocking case of referee killed over a game of football
- 4 Exclusive: Newcastle's star talent-spotter on brink as Joe Kinnear sparks walkout
- 5 Vast methane 'plumes' seen in Arctic ocean as sea ice retreats
£500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: FX Options Front Office Java / C# Developer - Ba...
£600 - £700 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager - Front Office - Regulatory IT C...
£33000 - £35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...
£21000 - £22000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: NQTs required now fo...