Does Akie Abe Speak English?

Yoshio Tsunoda/AFLO via ZUMA

President Trump’s description of being seated next to Akie Abe at the G20 dinner is getting a lot of attention:

TRUMP: So, I was seated next to the wife of Prime Minister Abe [Shinzo Abe of Japan], who I think is a terrific guy, and she’s a terrific woman, but doesn’t speak English.

HABERMAN: Like, nothing, right? Like zero?

TRUMP: Like, not “hello.”

This immediately led to a video going viral that showed Akie giving a speech in English. So maybe she was just pretending she couldn’t speak English because she didn’t want to talk to Donald?

Two things about this. First, come on. There must be lots of people out there who know whether or not she speaks English. So does she or doesn’t she?

Second, after about two minutes perusing the internet, my conclusion is that Akie most likely speaks high school English. She can recite a speech in English if it’s necessary, though she plainly prefers not to, and can probably understand spoken English decently. But she doesn’t have enough confidence in her English to use it conversationally. So she relies on an interpreter in situations like the G20 dinner.

If anyone has any actual evidence about this, please let us all know.

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