So, did Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe really fall down a bunker during his golf game with US President Donald Trump?

The Washington Post - and plenty of other internet sites - reported the fall.

"Prime Minister Shinzo Abe feted and flattered his American counterpart with golf games and hamburgers," the Post says.

"They both repeatedly talked about the strength of the alliance (and their bromance.)

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Taking a tumble... after a bunker shot this hapless golfer lost his footing and fell backwards.
Taking a tumble... after a bunker shot this hapless golfer lost his footing and fell backwards.

"Now, video footage of emerged that the trip did not, in fact, pass without any spills. Literally.

"While they were on the green at the swanky Kasumi Country Club on Sunday, Abe fell into a bunker and performed a ninja-like stunt - all without Trump's knowledge.

"The Japanese prime minister, dressed in a white sweater, had just hit his ball out of the sand and was running up out of the bunker. But when he got up onto the grass, he apparently lost his balance and rolled backwards into the sandy hole. An aide quickly rushed to help the prime minister.

"But Trump was already walking off and had his back to Abe, and apparently remained oblivious to his golf buddy's gymnastics in the bunker behind him.

"Lucky for the internet, however, a Japanese television network that had sent helicopters into the sky caught the whole thing on camera."

Donald Trump, circled, continues to walk to the next tee as the drama unfolds behind him.
Donald Trump, circled, continues to walk to the next tee as the drama unfolds behind him.

But fact-checking website snopes.com says it's "sceptical that the person featured in the video is actually Japan's Prime Minister.

"President Trump golfed with Abe and professional golfer Hideki Matsuyama at the Kasumigaseki Country Club on 5 November 2017. This helicopter footage does not give a clear view of who fell down the bunker, but photographs showing the three men before their game of golf show that neither Trump, Abe, or Matsuyama were dressed in a similar fashion to the man featured in the video.

"Trump wore a grey shirt, Abe wore dark blue, and Matsuyama wore a bright blue shirt during their round of golf. The man who fell down the bunker, on the other hand, was dressed in a white top:

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The golfer, who some have identified as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, falls back into the bunker.
The golfer, who some have identified as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, falls back into the bunker.

"It's certainly possible that Abe changed shirts at sometime during his round of golf. However, we've searched through all of the images and videos that we could find from this round of golf (the general press did not tag along for the event so pictures of Abe were scarce) and didn't find any images of Abe in a white shirt.

"So who fell into the sand trap? CNN reported that the world leaders did not keep score during their round of golf, so it's possible that either Trump or Abe asked someone take the bunker shot for them.

"Although this footage may show the Prime Minister of Japan taking a tumble after he put on a white jacket, we find it equally likely that this video features a caddie or some other unidentified individual."

The video quickly went viral in Japan.

"I saw that PM Abe did a backward roll and fell as he was getting out of a bunker. It's not that I support him and am trying to say favorable things about him, but that was a beautiful way to fall," wrote a Twitter user with the handle @forownway.

"Security police can't protect him from this LOL," wrote another tweeter, @taro777maru

"The truth of Abe-Trump golf diplomacy!" chimed in @oliveyellow.

Others saw this as a sign of the lop-sided nature of the relationship.

If the golfer is Abe, it's surprising that no one in the vicinity rushes to his aid.
If the golfer is Abe, it's surprising that no one in the vicinity rushes to his aid.

"Abe was ignored when he fell over backwards. He served Trump a lot of delicious food but in return all he got was being forced to promise to buy more weapons." wrote @iampeppar on Twitter. "Furthermore, Trump ignored all of Abe's tweets. Trump doesn't even follow Abe on Twitter. And you call this best friend LOL?"

Litera, a tabloid news website, called Trump's lack of reaction to Abe's mis-step "miserable."

"We thought Trump, realizing he fell, would rush to prime minister Abe and say something like: 'Oh my gosh! Shinzo, are you OK?' and give him a hand, but there was nothing of the kind," the website wrote.

"He didn't even take a look at Abe, dirty with sand all over him, and just walked ahead quickly. Abe, trying not to get behind, didn't even bother to take the sand off and followed Trump's back frantically," the site wrote.

Abe, who gave Trump a gold-tipped golf club during their first meeting in November and then played 27 holes with the new president at Mar-a-Lago in February, had reportedly been practicing ahead of their latest game.

But Abe has always remained tight-lipped about the score, joking that it was a matter of national security.

Still, Nikkan Gendai, a best-selling tabloid, wrote that Abe's golf diplomacy was a "major failure" as the pair had very few conversations on the golf course.

"Abe often ended up playing alone while Trump walked with and chatted to Hideki Matsuyama," Gendai wrote, referring to the pro golfer who played with them.