Rishi Sunak's sock diplomacy in Japan is easy to sneer at, but we should resist the temptation – Scotsman comment

It may have been like a scene from The Thick of It, but there was some serious diplomacy too

It’s easy to sneer at the mildly cringeworthy moment when Rishi Sunak showed Fumio Kishida, the Japanese Prime Minister, his socks. Bright red, they bore the name of Japanese baseball club Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

“I hope your baseball team has had a better season than my football team, who have had a very bad season,” Sunak, a fan of relegated Southampton, said. It may have been the PM’s idea, but was more likely cooked up at a meeting of Spads, in the manner of Armando Iannucci’s comedy drama, The Thick of It.

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But even if it was a little contrived, it’s the thought that counts. It was a small, light moment and, like an unexpected chocolate on a hotel bed, helped set a pleasant tone for the meeting.

Agreements to invest billions in the UK, including £10 billion in offshore wind in Scotland, low-carbon hydrogen and other clean-energy projects by one major company; a new strategic partnership, the Hiroshima Accord; and a pledge to deploy a Royal Navy battle fleet in the Indo-Pacific by 2025 demonstrated that serious, important business was also done.



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