Despite an international call to boycott the opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is reportedly set to attend the opening ceremonies on February 7. Human rights groups been critical of Russia‘s anti-gay legislations and several world leaders have declined to attend in protest of these “illiberal” laws.
Abe is also set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss several issues between their countries, including the long-standing territorial dispute over the Northern Territories or Kuril Islands, which are under Russian administration but are claimed by Japan. February 7 also happens to be the same date of an annual government-sponsored rally in Japan that calls for the return of the said islands to Japanese control. Because of this, Abe initially declined Putin’s invitation for a summit but changed his mind in order to take further steps into ending this decades-long dispute that has prevented the two countries from formally and officially ending World War II hostilities.
Russia adopted a law in June of last year, making it illegal to disseminate information about homosexuality to minors. This has sparked numerous protests from celebrities and world leaders. American and German leaders have already said they will not attend in protest of this legislation. While Japanese society in general is tolerant of the LGBT community, gay rights are not seen as an important issue when it comes to public perception in Japan.
[ via Nikkei ]
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