François Fillon is in Japan. He left Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet home and took Anne Lauvergeon instead. The head of Areva signed a nuclear fuel deal with Mitsubishi. If I'm not mistaken, this is the first time that Sarko has let Fillon play the traveling salesman in his stead. Perhaps he realized that hawking French wares looked a trifle unpresidential. Or maybe he was afraid that the Japanese hadn't forgotten his remark about sumo wrestlers:
La presse japonaise avait relaté notamment sa remarque dans "Paris Match" en 2004 pour se moquer de Jacques Chirac : "Comment peut-on être fasciné par ces combats de types obèses au chignon gominé ? Ce n'est pas un sport d'intellectuel, le sumo".
I'd say that NKM isn't the only member of the UMP who manages occasionally to say impolitic and disobliging things. Chirac, on the other hand, was a well-known nippophile. The Japanese didn't lower their trade barriers for him. They're even less likely to do it for Sarkozy. Le commerce, ce n'est pas un sport d'intellectuel non plus.