How Thatcher avoided being guarded by 20 'karate ladies' in Japan

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London, Dec. 30 (ANI): Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher rejected the offer of 20 "karate ladies" as bodyguards at an economic summit in Japan, as she didn't want to be singled out as a "woman per se."

Before the economic meeting in Tokyo in May 1979, Thatcher said that she wouldn't have any objection to the karate ladies, if the male world leaders were given the same number of "karate gentlemen", newly emerged Downing Street memos have revealed.

"She would not want these ladies; press reaction in particular would be unacceptable," said John Hunt, the cabinet secretary, according to a phone call record.

"Mrs Thatcher will attend the summit as Prime Minister and not as a woman per se. The Prime Minister would like to be treated in exactly the same manner as the other visiting Heads of Delegation," The Telegraph quoted Hunt, as saying.

"If other leaders, for example are each being assigned 20 karate gentlemen, the Prime Minister would have no objection to this but she does not wish to be singled out," he added.

However, subtle attempts to persuade their Japanese hosts to alter the plans had proved unsuccessful.

Sir Ian Gilmour, the Lord Privy Seal, was asked to raise the issue with the Japanese foreign minister, with whom he was due to have lunch the following day.

A note from his aide after the lunch said that Sir Ian had been clear that Lady Thatcher "should not have ... a special detachment of female bodyguards".

He was "satisfied that the point has been well taken and appreciated" by the Japanese minister.

"We would propose to follow this up immediately by instructing HM Embassy in Tokyo to discuss the matter with the appropriate Japanese authorities," Sir Ian's private secretary said. (ANI)

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