Actor Tom Cruise has a new friend in the shape of Japanese Prime Minister JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI - after the unlikely pair performed a duet of an ELVIS PRESLEY classic.

The MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE hunk had nothing but praise Koizumi after meeting the Japanese leader earlier today (28AUG03) - especially for his musical talents.

Cruise says, "He's really an extraordinary man - and a pretty good singer. We sang Elvis together.

"I think he's a charismatic and very intelligent man."

He declined to reveal which of the hits of the rock 'n' roll legend he sang with Koizumi, an eclectic music lover whose favourites also include Wagner.

But the prime minister said later it was I WANT YOU, I NEED YOU, I LOVE YOU - the first song he had ever learned in English.

Cruise was in Tokyo to promote his new movie The Last Samurai, in which he plays a fictional US military officer hired by the 19th century Japanese government to train its army in modern warfare.

The actor said he had invited Koizumi - who faces a party leadership race in a few weeks - to the premiere of the movie, part of which was filmed in Japan. It is due for release in December (03).

28/08/2003 17:20