Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be present at the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics and will then meet the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The meeting of the two politicians is seen as an encouraging sign regarding the relationship between Tokyo and Moscow since Abe took office in December 2012.
”Building trust between the leaders is important for progress towards a bilateral peace treaty that has been hampered by decades-old territorial disputes”, Chief Cabin Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.
Abe will not be able to meet the leaders of the United States and Germany, who will most probably not come to the February 7 event amid international unease at what is seen as illiberal Russian legislation, according to the international press.
In June, Russia adopted a law that forbids the dissemination of information about homosexuality to minors. The law was disapproved by human rights groups and called for a boycott of the country’s first post-Soviet Olympic Games.
However, the topic of homosexuality is not very visible on Japanese public’s radar, although generally people in Japan are reasonably tolerant when it comes to LGBT community.
Abe would like to clear a dispute with Russia regarding a group of contested islands, which Japan claims as the Northern Territories, but Russia administers as the Southern Kurils.