Hollande Confuses China and Japan during Tokyo Visit

French president Francois Hollande was left embarrassed and red-faced after referring to the Japanese people as “Chinese” at a press conference held in Tokyo early on Friday.

The cringe-worthy gaffe, which would be more at home among the annals of Springfield’s mayor Joe Quimby, went unnoticed by the Japanese premier, Shinzo Abe, who was standing at the podium opposite Hollande, and by the majority of the Japanese speaking press attendees – primarily because the president was speaking French, and the translator who was dictating to the waiting press in real-time, seamlessly covered the slip up.

Hollande probably would have escaped unscathed if it wasn’t for one bilingual journalist who promptly relayed the message back to Paris, where waiting media quickly made the blunder national news.

After being quizzed by media for an explanation, officials in the Elyse palace explained that Hollande was “tired”, presumably a result of the no doubt exhausting 9,000km trip from Paris to Tokyo.

Hollande’s three-day trip to the Far East is the first official visit made by a French leader since Jacques Chirac’s in 1996. He had met with the Japanese premier to discuss nuclear ties and terrorism – the subject he was rattling on about when the faux pas occurred.

Hollande isn’t the only national leader guilty of a slip of the tongue however – he himself was on the receiving end a few weeks back when German chancellor called him Francois Mitterand, one of his predecessors.

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