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Thursday, 13 June 2013

French president François Hollande confuses Japan with China

You know from time-to-time how you hear a story about a singer who greets fans at the beginning of a concert with, for example, a massive "Good evening Clermont-Ferrand" when the gig is taking place almost 150 kilometres away in the city of Saint Etienne.

That happened to one of France's "favourite" (well at least most successful over the decades) singers, Johnny Hallyday, in December last year.

It's understandable perhaps, given the punishing schedule of a tour and musicians don't necessarily have a huge entourage of speechwriters and advisors keeping tabs on what they're saying.

Not so for political leaders.

They rarely travel without an army of flunkies on hand.

François Hollande speaking at a press conference in Japan (screenshot from AFP report)

And there's really no excuse when they get things ever-so wrong and that must be especially true when they're French.

After all the country is famous and proud for its tradition of diplomacy, isn't it?

"French is the language of..." and all that.

So François Hollande's gaffe while on an official visit to Japan last week surely counts as one that'll ensure the French president is top of the class for a while yet when it comes to diplomatic blunders.

Hollande was speaking at a press conference in Tokyo and, while referring to the Algerian hostage crisis in January in which 10 Japanese died said...well take a listen for yourself.

Yes, you heard correctly. Hollande said "Chinese" rather than "Japanese" - and didn't even bother rectifying his mistake.

What a chump!

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