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Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka showcased her razor-sharp comic skills once again Monday when she referred to herself as an “obasan” or a middle-aged woman, in a meeting with visiting Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

During the meeting, which was held at the Akasaka state guesthouse, Tanaka noted that the Nigerian president’s name is familiar in Japan because of its phonetic proximity to the term obasan.

The 57-year-old foreign minister added that in Japan, the word obasan is used to refer to an aunt, or a middle-aged women such as herself.

With good humor, President Obasanjo said he was not aware of this fact, prompting Tanaka to ask the confused Nigerian ambassador to Japan why he had not informed the president in advance.

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