German Newspaper Accidentally Includes Former Prime Minister Taro Aso in G8 Leader Portrait

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    For its coverage of last week’s G8 summit, the German newspaper Die Zelt used the following portrait:


    Instead of Japan’s current Prime Minister, they’ve accidentally included Taro Aso, who was PM from September 2008 to September 2009. The Wall Street Journal notes that the portrait is based on an image from a 2009 G8 Summit, but the artist went through the trouble of altering the image to update the American and British leaders:

    While the drawing, which was published May 26, was poking fun at German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s isolation from the rest of the G-8 club, it seems Japan unwittingly got caught in the joke. It appears that the drawing was in part based on a photo of the world leaders at the G-8 summit in Italy in July 2009 (see above photo) when Mr. Aso was still at the helm. But the other world leaders in the drawing are properly updated, for example, a jovial David Cameron flanks Mr. Aso rather than Gordon Brown, the U.K. prime minister at the time.

    Over at Itai News, there is a selection of Japanese netizen comments. Some netizens reacted by posting photos of Prime Minister Naoto Kan that seem to confirm his obscurity on the international stage:

    Somebody even photoshopped an isolated Kan onto the German newspaper:

    The newspaper’s mistake is easy to understand, when you think about the lack of memorable/important Japanese leaders in recent years. The problem is highlighted by this visual timeline of Japan’s many short-lived and easily forgotten Prime Ministers:

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