Did Japan's first lady pretend she couldn't speak English to avoid talking to Trump?
President Donald Trump and Japanese First Lady Akie Abe (composite image)

The wife of Japan's prime minister may have pretended not to understand English in order to avoid speaking with President Donald Trump at a G20 Summit dinner where Trump left his seat to speak privately with Russian President Vladimir Putin.


British newspaper The Mirror reported Thursday that Akie Abe, wife of PM Shinzo Abe, was seated next to Trump at the dinner on July 8.

Trump said to the New York Times in an interview published Wednesday, "So, I was seated next to the wife of Prime Minister Abe, who I think is a terrific guy, and she’s a terrific woman, but doesn’t speak English."

The meal was "hard," the president said, because it went on for nearly two hours.

"So I’m sitting there. There was one interpreter for Japanese, ’cause otherwise it would have been even tougher. But I enjoyed the evening with her, and she’s really a lovely woman, and I enjoyed — the whole thing was good," Trump told the Times.

However, as journalist Sam Thielman pointed out, Akie Abe speaks excellent English.

Twitter users celebrated Mrs. Abe's clever dodge.