Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be attending the 2014 Sochi Olympics, sources in Tokyo said. Should the plan push through, believed to be the LDP chief’s effort to improve ties with Russia, Abe is expected to arrive in February next year, in time for the opening of the Sochi Games.
Learning from the 2014 Winter Olympics host is said to be another reason for Abe’s possible visit to Russia, as Japan, for the second time, will be hosting the Summer Olympics in 2020 in Tokyo. The Japanese-Russian cooperation, with regard to Olympics, was reckoned when the Japanese prime minister and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on October 7 at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bali, Indonesia.
However, the intent to have talks with Russia over disputed islands – Etorofu, Kunashiri, Habomai, and Shikotan – off Hokkaido is believed to be the real reason behind Abe’s efforts. Abe is hoping that issues on the ‘northern territories’ will be settled, as both countries have not come to a final peace agreement since post-Word War II because of the dispute. Despite the territorial row, President Putin was among the first world leaders who congratulated Abe on his return to office last December. Both have also agreed to hold 2-plus-2 talks this November.
[via Itar Tass]