French president Francois Hollande was left red-faced in Tokyo yesterday after a slip of the tongue that saw him confuse his Japanese hosts with the Chinese.
During a press conference Hollande, speaking in French, referred to the Algerian hostage crisis in January in which 10 Japanese nationals died, saying he had "expressed the condolences of the French people to the Chinese people".
The president made no attempt to correct his mistake.
A quick-thinking female interpreter fixed the verbal gaffe as she gave her simultaneous translation, rendering the sentence as it had been intended.
But at least one Japanese journalist with knowledge of French picked up on Hollande's error.