Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda‘s visit to Russia next month was postponed, with sources circulating on Friday that the reason was because of concerns over President Vladimir Putin‘s health. Noda reportedly commented on it while visiting local government officials in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has quickly issued a response that Putin’s health is not an issue, nor is it preventing him from working or traveling.
Putin, who turned 60 last month, and his health have the subject of a fair amount of speculation since he was seen walking with a limp during the Asia-Pacific summit in September, hosted in the far-eastern Russian city of Vladivostok. Several Russian government sources commented in October that it was simply back trouble, as Putin regularly practices judo and supposedly twisted his spine. However, the Kremlin’s latest statement deny the Russian president is having any back problems.
Peskov further explains that the timing of Prime Minister Noda’s visit was never definitively scheduled, and Russian officials hope it will take place in the second half of January. No mention from Russia has been made of Japan’s general elections on December 16th, which Noda and his Democratic Party of Japan are widely expected to lose. If that turns out to be the case, Noda certainly won’t be prime minister in late January. It’s possible Russia sees Japan’s revolving door of leaders spinning once more, meaning the seventh premier in the last six years, and doesn’t want to waste time meeting with someone who won’t be in power three weeks from now.[via Gulf Today]