You re-read the text.
'After the leaders of the four African nations of Tanzania, Senegal, Ethiopia and Ghana attended the extended conference on July 7, they immediately departed for Tokyo. “That’s because of the dearth of suite room facilities in Sapporo hotels,” explains a local hotelier.'
That's the leaders of four large countries who didn't have proper accommodation - or so the article implies - not just underlings. And bear in mind also that these people will have paperwork to do in their rooms, and will need space. I don't think sitting on the floor in a ryokan with no internet connection is a good way for any government official to do business. Ryokan are not designed for people who are there to work. They're designed for leisure use.
And I bet Gordon Brown's entourage, no matter how high they are in the pecking order, have all been given rooms with beds.
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I'm afraid I have to disagree with the majority. It's appalling to offer different standards of accommodation to visitors based on which country they came from. Maybe it would do Bush and Brown good if they were forced to sleep on the tatami for a few nights, but the fact is that if the Japanese government had produced tht sort of accommodation for them, it would have caused a diplomatic outcry. It's not what is considered an international standard as far as hotel provision is concerned.
Perhaps a lot of the commentators here have been in Japan too long. These guys are not Japanologists or Japanophiles - they're diplomats. They probably weren't even aware that it's a cultural tradition to sleep on the floor. Believe it or not, a lot of visitors are still shocked when asked to sleep on the floor, and it's hardly surprising, because it's not the kind of thing you'd be asked to do in many other countries. The Japanese government should have had the cultural sensitivity to bear this in mind.
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