‘Hillary of Japan’ says she’s ‘very different’ from Clinton

Japan’s new first lady, Nobuko Kan, has been affectionately called by the country’s ruling-party lawmakers "the Japanese Hillary" because she had been a "brilliant campaigner" for her husband, as Singapore’s Straits Times put it. She also spends a lot of time at home debating politics with her husband, Naoto Kan, now the prime minister. She ...

SATORU IIZUKA/AFP/Getty Images
SATORU IIZUKA/AFP/Getty Images
SATORU IIZUKA/AFP/Getty Images

Japan's new first lady, Nobuko Kan, has been affectionately called by the country's ruling-party lawmakers "the Japanese Hillary" because she had been a "brilliant campaigner" for her husband, as Singapore's Straits Times put it. She also spends a lot of time at home debating politics with her husband, Naoto Kan, now the prime minister. She once said of her husband during a TV interview, "He is a good debater in parliament because he is well trained at home."

Nevertheless, Nobuko Kan rejects the comparison to Hillary Clinton. While in Toronto this weekend for the G-20 summit (as seen above with her husband, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Canadian first lady Laureen Harper), she told the Global and Mail of Canada through an interpreter:

"I am the opposition party within my family, so we spend a lot of time discussing politics at home and that's probably the reason people equate me as 'Hillary of Japan,' but I'm very different from Ms. Clinton."

Japan’s new first lady, Nobuko Kan, has been affectionately called by the country’s ruling-party lawmakers "the Japanese Hillary" because she had been a "brilliant campaigner" for her husband, as Singapore’s Straits Times put it. She also spends a lot of time at home debating politics with her husband, Naoto Kan, now the prime minister. She once said of her husband during a TV interview, "He is a good debater in parliament because he is well trained at home."

Nevertheless, Nobuko Kan rejects the comparison to Hillary Clinton. While in Toronto this weekend for the G-20 summit (as seen above with her husband, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Canadian first lady Laureen Harper), she told the Global and Mail of Canada through an interpreter:

"I am the opposition party within my family, so we spend a lot of time discussing politics at home and that’s probably the reason people equate me as ‘Hillary of Japan,’ but I’m very different from Ms. Clinton."

One similarity though: Just as Hillary Clinton took up health-care reform as first lady, Kan has her own issue she’s pushing: doing away with sales taxes on produce and medicines.

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.