New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (File photo)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (File photo)

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern confuses Japan for China during Tokyo trip

Updated: Sep 19, 2019 18:35 IST

Tokyo [Japan], Sept 19 : New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was left red-faced after confusing Japan for China on the first day of her official trip here.
"It's an incredibly exciting time for New Zealand and its relationship with China, sorry, excuse me, with Japan," she said on Wednesday during a media briefing shortly after arriving in Japan, reported CNN
According to New Zealand's state broadcaster, Ardern blamed her gaffe on jetlag as she had just touched down in the country.
"You'll understand I've been on continuous travel and just this moment stopped here," she said.
The Prime Minister is in Japan to discuss trade and tourism with her Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.
Asia New Zealand Foundation, a partially-government funded group that conducts research into Asia, released a report which shed light on New Zealand-Japan ties.
"Ties between the two countries had 'underperformed in the last few decades' as Japan's economy stagnated and New Zealand looked toward the booming China market," the foundation opined, adding that China is New Zealand's largest trading partner.
Following her meeting on Thursday with the Japanese Prime Minister, Ardern said that the countries were "close friends who share common values and interests."
Japan is increasingly one of New Zealand's most important partners in the world, she added.
After Ardern's five-day Japan visit, she'll head to New York where she will meet with United States President Donald Trump and attend the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.