China Premier Likes SMAP

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was in Japan the weekend of May 20 attending a Northeast Asian mini-summit and asked to meet the country’s No. 1 boy band, SMAP.

His wish came true at a Tokyo hotel May 21, where the five members of the group sang their hit song, “The Only Flower In The World,” a capella and in Chinese in front of Wen in a meeting room. Wen smiled and clapped along.

SMAP was supposed to perform in China last June at the Shanghai Expo, but canceled out of security concerns.

Then, last October SMAP was to play a stadium show but had to cancel that as well due to strained relations between China and Japan following an incident in which a Chinese fishing boat rammed a Japan Coast Guard vessel.

After the impromptu performance, Wen told the group that, although he himself wasn’t familiar with SMAP’s music, they had many fans in China. He said he would “heartily welcome” a SMAP concert in China so that they could “sow the seeds of friendship.”

As it happens, SMAP is planning to perform at the Beijing Workers Stadium Sept. 16.