Former President Watch: Bush and Koizumi Are Still BFF



Ahhh, to be a former president. While we were all consumed with the outcome of the 2009 elections, George W. Bush was overseas in Tokyo, throwing out the first pitch at Japan’s equivalent of the World Series. At his side: Junichiro Koizumi, the former prime minister of Japan and Elvis Presley superfan who was widely considered one of Bush’s best friends, among foreign leaders anyway. Back in 2006, Bush gave Koizumi a restored 1950s-era jukebox full of Elvis tunes and took him to Graceland. Koizumi gave Bush a mix CD of him singing Elvis’s greatest hits. But your Gaggler suspects their friendship was set for life when Bush indulged Koizumi’s real weakness: Juicy Fruit gum. The former PM spotted it in a candy dish on Marine One—“Juicy Fruit!” he shrieked, according to a former Bush administration official, who recounted the story to me later. Turns out Koizumi used to chew the gum as a kid, when U.S. soldiers passed it out to Japanese citizens on the street in the aftermath of World War II. According to the White House, Bush bought him a case to take back to Japan.

Join the Discussion