Obama is looking to cash in on having the same name as Obama, we hear.
The Obama (小浜) in question is a town in Fukui Prefecture which has tenuously sought to hitch itself onto President Elect Barack Obama’s coattails, supporting his presidential bid on the basis that his name is coincidentally of a similar pronunciation to that of the otherwise unremarkable small Japanese town.
Not satisfied with being previously acknowledged by the now President Elect, the mayor now seeks to bestow upon Obama the honour of becoming a “Special Honourary Citizen” of the town, perhaps whether he likes it not: he announced that he is exploring the matter to reporters, though it is still not clear what the Obama camp thinks of all this.
The mayor crows at his luck: “We were supporting his bid with all our hearts, we’re really delighted.”
He goes on to state his motive: “I’d like to bring Obama the city to the world’s notice too.”
His enthusiastic toadying continues even further in his congratulatory message to Mr Obama: “Should you visit Japan, it would be an honour for us to have the pleasure of receiving you here in Obama.”
Expect the Japanese press to keep returning to this, as the pun goes about as far as it can: オバマ氏 / Obama-shi (Mr Obama) and 小浜市 / Obama-shi (Obama City) leave little possibility of refraining from wordplay in headlines…