Donald Trump said he sat with Putin because Japan's First Lady doesn't speak English, but she does

'I enjoyed the evening with her, and she’s really a lovely woman'

Henry Austin
Friday 21 July 2017 00:20 BST
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Japanese first lady Akie Abe
Japanese first lady Akie Abe (REUTERS)

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Louise Thomas

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Donald Trump appears to have been ignored by the Japanese first lady at the final dinner at the G20 summit in Hamburg.

Asked by The New York Times about his secret second meeting with Vladimir Putin, the US President explained that Aki Abe “doesn’t speak any English”.

Pressed further he said: “Like, not ‘hello’. He added that it was hard because the dinner was “probably an hour and 45 minutes”.

He said that he thought her husband, Shinzo Abe was “a great guy” and that there had been a Japanese interpreter because “otherwise it would have been even tougher.”

He added: “But I enjoyed the evening with her, and she’s really a lovely woman, and I enjoyed — the whole thing was good.”

However, Ms Abe, the daughter of a wealthy Japanese family, attended the Sacred Heart School, a private Roman Catholic international school in Tokyo before she attended college.

It includes rigorous English-language instruction as part of its curriculum.

Social media swiftly found clips of the 55-year-old Abe making speeches in somewhat accented but perfectly serviceable English.

As a result, many have suggested that she simply did not wish to talk to the US leader.

Mr Trump’s secret meeting with Mr Putin has come under scrutiny because it was not disclosed by the White House until 10 days after the event.

No other US official or interpreter was present, while Mr Putin used his own. So there is no US record of what the pair spoke about.

However, Mr Trump told The New York Times it was “pleasantries more than anything else” and the pair had discussed adoption.

“We talked about Russian adoption,” he said. “Yeah. I always found that interesting. Because, you know, he ended that years ago.”

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