Where in the world is Jacinda Ardern?

Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern. Photo: ODT Files

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made an awkward faux pas after touching down in Tokyo - muddling Japan with China in her first media standup in the country.

Ardern said it was an "incredibly exciting time for New Zealand in its relationship with China - excuse me sorry, with Japan".

She reportedly blamed jet lag for her mistake, saying "You'll understand I've been on continuous travel and just this moment stopped here."

While the gaffe was understandable at the end of a long-haul flight it came at an awkward time.

Just yesterday the Asia New Zealand Foundation released a report questioning whether New Zealand had let its relationship with Japan "drift" amid trade differences and a shift in attention toward China's booming market.

But challenges in the international economic and security environment could provide a good reason for Japan and New Zealand to deepen their relationship, report author David Capie said.

"Uncertainty across the Asia-Pacific region has given both countries an interest in strengthening ties with partners that share common interests in the rules-based order."

The Prime Minister is in Japan to discuss trade and tourism with the country's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well as watching an All Blacks game at the Rugby World Cup

It's the first leg of a trip that will take her to the leaders' week at the UN in New York.

Ardern's visit is the first trip to Japan by a New Zealand Prime Minister since the CPTPP trading agreement was signed.

Japan hosting the Rugby World Cup was an opportunity for New Zealand to leverage its relationship with the Asian nation, which was our fourth largest two-way trading partner, Ardern said.

Japan was already New Zealand's sixth biggest tourism market but the RWC was a great opportunity for Tourism NZ to entice even more people to visit.


I seem to remember a certain ex pm having a bromance with a certain rugby player, having a three way handshake, pulling ponytails and making a fool of himself on American tv and being laughed at all around the world and not being lambasted on the media as much as this pm making ONE mistake.

Whilst making such a faux pas is to be expected of an inexperienced person thrust into a leadership role, doing it on an international stage with a major trading partner that is culturally sensitive to "face" was certainly far from ideal for New Zealand's image. But to then make excuses along the lines of: "You'll understand I've been on continuous travel and just this moment stopped here." That has got to be the ultimate embarrassment for New Zealand. While tax payer funded jaunts to watch the rugby may be new to her, real world leaders (dare I say it, like Trump) travel bigger distances between their golf games than Jilinda will ever do on public funded junkets.

It depends how much opprobrium the anti Jacinda brigade wants to pile on, which influences global perception of New Zealanders as tenacious bullies.

Read my comment above.

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