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Updated: November 19, 2009 02:56 IST

Japan says Obama's bow spontaneous

Aarti Dhar
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U.S. President Barack Obama, left, bows as he is greeted by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, not pictured, as he arrives at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
AP U.S. President Barack Obama, left, bows as he is greeted by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, not pictured, as he arrives at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Even as the U.S. President Barack Obama has come under severe criticism for bowing before the Japanese Emperor during their meeting at the Imperial Palace here last week, Japan thinks it was a "spontaneous reaction".

"We do not attach political importance to it. It was a spontaneous reaction out of respect for the Emperor," Takeshi Akamatsu, Assistant Press Secretary, International Press Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told reporters here on Wednesday.

The Japanese protocol does not ask any dignitary to bow, he explained.

Mr. Obama's 90-degree bow while greeting the Japanese Emperor Akihito and the Empress Miciko at the Imperial Palace during the latter's official visit to Japan last week drew a lot of flak in his country though the U.S. administration has maintained that the President had simply observed protocol while greeting the Japanese Emperor.

However, the Japanese believe that Mr. Obama could have been "overwhelmed by the Emperor and bowed before him respectfully". No one tells the U.S. President to bow, the people here say adding that it was a natural thing for Mr. Obama to bow.

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