The latest addition to a collection of Christmas ornaments at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's home this year came from American first lady Laura Bush, and the Abes enjoyed a cozy dinner on Christmas at a singer friend's house, according to a blog recently started by Japan's first lady.
Akie Abe, 44, launched her official blog "Akie Abe's Smile Talk" with an entry on Nov. 21 chronicling her trip to Vietnam accompanying her husband to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
"It was my first visit to Vietnam and also my first time to attend a wives' program. I was thrilled with anxieties and anticipation before leaving Japan," she wrote.
She posted a picture of a Christmas tree decorated with ornaments and a close-up photo of a golden bulb with a painting of the White House, the gift from Laura Bush, on her first Christmas at the prime minister's official residence. Abe, who took office in late September, succeeded Junichiro Koizumi, who was single.
"My husband had a Cabinet meeting in the morning, but returned to the residence for lunch and we had porridge. I'd like to spend the day relaxing," Akie said in her Dec. 24 entry, with a picture of her husband reaching for food at the table.
While support for the prime minister has recently declined, the public remains generally fond of the first lady, a former DJ and the daughter of a former president of one of Japan's leading confectioners, Morinaga & Co.
Recent public opinion polls have shown that support for Abe's government has fallen to about 50 percent from almost 70 percent three months ago.
The latest embarrassment to Abe came this week when a Cabinet minister resigned over a political funds scandal, following the resignation last week of the head of the government's tax panel.
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