Beninese Ambassador Zomahoun Rufin says — half-jokingly — his dream is "to become the next Japanese prime minister."

"My home country aside, I love Japan the most. I even want to turn Japanese," the 49-year-old envoy says, his face lighting up with a friendly smile.

Officially representing the West African country in Tokyo since 2011, Rufin has a unique background — he used to be a TV "talent" who gained popularity on variety shows here about a decade ago.