PM Narendra Modi's Tokyo diary

Updated on Sep 02, 2014 01:49 AM IST

From finding a spot to pose with the chief priest in Kyoto to playing a few notes on the flute, Narendra Modi has been in a good mood in Japan; possibly because he feels he is among friends.

Hindustan Times | BySitaraman Shankar, New Delhi
PM interacts with kids, plays the flute

Tokyo: PM Narendra Modi played a few notes on the flute at his interaction with children at the Taimei Elementary in Tokyo on Monday, and reportedly told them a story of how Krishna used to attract cows by playing the wind instrument. Pictures were released of the Indian prime minister interacting with the little kids. Perhaps he was warming up for his Teachers’ Day address to Indian students.

Not the usual combative politician he is in India

Kyoto: A Narendra Modi has been in a good mood in Japan, possibly because he feels he is among friends. At Kyoto, he posed with students, shook journalists’ hands amid some banter and advised photographers which angle to shoot from. He also pulled the ears of a little boy in the crowd. Very different from the combative politician Indian audiences are used to seeing.

The lotus blooms in Kyoto too

Kyoto: At the Kinkaku-ji temple in Kyoto, Modi found a spot to pose with the chief priest, with the spectacular golden pavilion in the background and joked with the priest about the similarity in their names ("Modi, Mori"). And when Japanese PM Shinzo Abe tried to explain the significance of the lotus motif at the Toji temple, Modi replied that he knew all about it, since it was the symbol of his party. Abe, for his part, confessed that this was only the second time he had visited the famous UNESCO site – the last time was as a schoolkid.

Rock star status for people-friendly PM

Kyoto: Modi’s rock star status was visible for all to see. At public functions, Indian tourists — some carrying flags — made their appearance, chanting "Vande Mataram!". As his car pulled out of the Kyoto hotel, a crowd gathered to wave goodbye. The man did not disappoint — the contrast with the reticent Manmohan Singh was apparent at every turn.

People jump security to get close to Modi-san
Tokyo: This popularity seems to extend to the Japanese man — and woman — on the street. A portly young Japanese woman made her way to within inches of Modi — the security here is either unobtrusively superefficient or virtually absent — beamed, and waved a couple of plastic Indian flags. A staffer at Kyoto railway station inquired eagerly if Modi had partaken of drinks with Abe as part of the banquet. And shouts of “Modi san!” were heard at the temple visits.

Japan lifts ban on six Indian entities
Tokyo: Japan on Monday lifted a ban on HAL and five other Indian entities — which had been imposed in the aftermath of the 1998 nuclear tests — amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion that cooperation between the two countries in defence and security would get a “new direction”. The lifting of the ban was announced by Modi at his joint media interaction with Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. Sources said the ban had been lifted on six entities, including Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. However, four entities still remain in the banned list. The removal of the ban will enable these companies to have cooperation with Japanese firms, including transfer of technology.

(With inputs from AFP and PTI.)

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