Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s first remarks to the joint session of the U.S. Congress were perhaps also his most heartfelt.

"I never get such nice applause from the Japanese Diet,” the premier said, as the ovation he received recently at his historic address, only the second by a Tokyo leader, rang in his ears. Kishida made friends in Washington, and will have left a good impression with his surprisingly personable speeches, filled with jokes about his childhood in the U.S. watching The Flintstones.

The premier must wish he could have stayed there, on a geopolitical circuit that praises him for moving his country closer to the U.S. The Japanese businessmen, pop stars and executives who serenaded him in Washington don’t seem so keen to be seen with him back in Tokyo.