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Last Updated: Friday, 17 October, 2003, 20:00 GMT 21:00 UK
Japan beefs up Bush diplomacy
Koizumi and Bush
Mr Koizumi and Mr Bush are said to get along well
State visits offer leaders the opportunity to extend diplomacy beyond the talks table to the dinner table.

When Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited the Bush ranch in Texas earlier this year, he was fed hamburgers grilled on the family barbeque.

In a sign of the warm camaraderie that has developed between Mr Koizumi and US President George W Bush, the Japanese leader returned the compliment on Friday night.

In traditional Japanese fashion, the guests sat on the floor, dining on a four-course meal featuring beef steak, miso soup, rice and pickles, according to media reports.

And George Bush appeared to have enjoyed the feast.

He emerged from the dinner full of praise.

"He's [Koizumi] a good friend... And the meal was great."

"Beef man," Mr Koizumi joked about Mr Bush, and the president agreed: "Beef man."

US diplomats could be excused for having felt a little nervous.

George Bush Senior just after his collapse in Japan, 1992
An ashen-faced George Bush Senior, after vomiting in Japan

When Mr Bush's father attended a state visit in Japan in January 1992, he responded to the arrival of Japanese beef steak (French-style) with a projectile vomit into the lap of Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa.

Suffering from flu at the time, George Bush Senior then slumped under the table before getting up a few minutes later and announcing he felt great.

Now that George Bush Junior has apparently survived the dinner, he may be enjoying a good night's sleep before a gruelling Asian tour which takes in another five countries in a week.

A Western-style bed may be more suited for this.

When UK Prime Minister Tony Blair visited Japan earlier this year, he was offered a traditional straw mat.

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