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SOCHI, July 28 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed gratitude to the Akita prefecture head for the gift -- an Akita Inu puppy.
Putin said he would send a Siberian cat as a gift to the prefect in return.
"Not within the official part of your visit, I want to ask you to convey my best wishes to the governor of the Akita prefecture for the so nice gift -- a dog," Putin said to Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba when they met.
The dog is already in Moscow, the president said.
"I was told that the prefect himself likes cats more. In return, I will send a Siberian cat to him," he added.
The president's press secretary Dmitry Peskov confirmed that the puppy was already in Putin's country residence in Novo-Ogaryovo. The dog's name will remain the same -- Yume (Dream) -- already given. As for the return gift promised by Putin during the meeting on Saturday, a cat must be chosen yet, Peskov said.
During the meeting of the Japanese and Russian leaders in Mexico on June 18, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told Putin about the present of an Akita Inu from the Akita prefecture. The prefecture decided to present a puppy to President Putin, who likes dogs, in gratutude for Russia's help to the northeastern Japanese region, including Akita, severely hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March last year, and also as congratulation on Putin's taking office as Russian president, Prefecture Governor Norihisa Satake said in his statement. The Japanese Embassy in Russia reported it on July 27.
In March 2010, the prefecture of Akita and Russia's Primorsky Territory signed an agreement on friendship and cooperation. The prefecture implements the concept of multimodal cargo transportation from the seaport of Akita with the use of the Trans-Siberian railroad. The prefecture intends to further develop ties with Russia.
The summit of APEC leaders will take place in Vladivostok in September this year. The East Asian region, including Japan and Russia, is expected to develop as a centre of world economy, the prefect noted. He said he hoped the gift would make a certain contribution to deepening mutual understanding and further developing relations between Japan and Russia.
Japanese embassy sources said an Akita prefecture representative at Sheremetyevo airport on Saturday handed over the puppy to Russian presidential administration officials.
The female red-colour puppy named Yume was born on April 24, 2012. At present, its length is 50 cm, and the height is 37 cm. The weight is eight kilogrammes.
An Akita Inu is a hunting dog bred in the province of Akita on Honshu Island. Supposedly, its ancestors appeared about 7,000 years ago. Dogs of the breed have a majestic posture, noble appearance and devotion to the master.