Anyone there? Shinzo Abe picks worst moment to visit Romania

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his tour of eastern Europe.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his tour of eastern Europe.   -  Copyright  Reuters/Ints Kalnins
By Chris Harris

Japan’s prime minister chose to visit Bucharest the day after his opposite number resigned from government.

Japan’s prime minister travelled 8,700 kilometres to make a historic visit to Romania — only to find his opposite number wasn’t there to welcome him.

Shinzo Abe became the first-ever Japanese head of government to make an official trip to Bucharest when he arrived on Tuesday (January 16).

But his timing was unfortunate: it came after Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose resigned on Monday evening because he lost the support of his party.

The resignation upset the programme of Abe, who was visiting Romania as part of a tour of eastern European countries.

Instead of meeting Tudose, Abe instead took in a bit of Romanian culture. He and his wife visited Bucharest's Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum, which charts life in the country's rural communities.

Then, to avoid embarassment for Abe, a meeting scheduled with Romania's president Klaus Iohannis for Wednesday was brought forward 24 hours.

While Abe's cancelled his visit to Romania's government, lower level meetings still took place between state officials and the Japanese delegation.

Abe’s was on the final leg of a trip to eastern Europe, which has also seen him visit Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Serbia.

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