Japan's presumptive prime minister, Shinzo Abe, "told business chiefs he had been speaking to "President Bush" after a phone call from Barack Obama," according to the Japan Times.
The paper is calling it: "Abe's first gaffe."
The gaffe came in one of Abe's first speaking engagements since his Liberal Democratic Party won Sunday's Lower House election.
Abe, who was prime minister in 2006 and 2007 in the final years of George W. Bush's presidency, quickly realized his error when the assembled journalists and business leaders began chuckling.
The 58-year-old corrected his verbal misstep and told officials from Keidanren, the top business lobby, that he and Obama had agreed on the importance of the Japan-U.S. security alliance.