Modi, Abe bond over tweets

PM reaches out with messages in Japanese

Modi, Abe bond over tweets

Many of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 5.96 million followers on Twitter were taken aback early on Thursday, when he started tweeting, not in Hindi or English, but in Japanese. 

After eight tweets in Japanese from the official Twitter account of the prime minister, came a translation in English, “Friends from Japan asked me to talk to the people of Japan directly in Japanese.” 

It was then clear to all that Modi, who is known for his huge fan following in the social media, is trying to reach out to Twitterati of Japan ahead of his forthcoming visit to Kyoto and Tokyo. 

Modi will leave New Delhi on Saturday for a five-day tour to Japan, his first bilateral visit as prime minister beyond the neighbourhood. The prime minister felt the best way to win Japanese hearts was by tweeting in Japanese. 

And it did work. His tweets were re-tweeted by many Japanese, including his host, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The two leaders, who follow each other on Twitter, bonded over tweets, well before they could meet in Kyoto on Sunday and hold formal parleys in Tokyo on Monday. 

Modi tweeted that he was looking forward to the visit and hoped that it would boost relations between India and Japan. 

“I see the Japan visit as an opportunity to take our ties to a new level and increase cooperation in various fields,” the prime minister posted on Twitter. “Japan’s friendship with India is time-tested. We are two vibrant democracies committed to advancing peace and prosperity in the world,” he added. 

Abe, who generally tweets in Japanese, was quick to reciprocate the gesture, choosing to respond to Modi in English. “Your first visit to Japan as Indian PM will add a new chapter to our strategic partnership. Together we can do a lot for peace and prosperity in the world. India has a special place in my heart. I am eagerly awaiting your arrival in Kyoto this weekend,” he tweeted in response.

Modi admired Japan for its “scale of innovation” and “level of precision” and noted that India and the east Asian archipelagic nation could “learn a lot from each other”. 

He also posted that he was “particularly excited” to meet Abe, who after taking over as prime minister of Japan took a hard-line approach on his country’s territorial disputes with China–over the Diaoyu or Senkaku islets in East China Sea. 

The Abe government recently came out with a security doctrine which calls for Japan’s “proactive contribution” to regional and global peace. “I deeply respect his (Abe’s) leadership and enjoy a warm relationship with him from previous meetings,” Modi posted on Twitter.

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