TOKYO, October 29 (Itar-Tass) - Japan’s Prime Minister Sinzo Abe has begun to coordinate a possible visit to Sochi, which he may effectuate in February 2014 and time it for the 22nd Winter Olympic Games, well-informed sources in Tokyo told Itar-Tass.
They said he might want to use the visit for continuing dialogue with Russia’s state leaders. The most probable option for his trip to Sochi is the one that will enable him to attend the Games opening ceremony February 7.
One more reason for a visit to Russia during the Olympics is to get familiarized with Russia’s experience, as Tokyo will host the Summer Olympic Games in 2020.
Russian-Japanese cooperation in the field of Olympic movement came into the focus of discussion October 7 when Putin and Abe met in Bali, Indonesia, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
Japan would like to host successful Olympic Games, including in cooperation with Russia and that is why Tokyo and Sochi are together, Abe said then.
Kyodo news agency quotes officials in Tokyo as saying Abe and Putin are steadily developing a personal relationship and they have expressed hope that this could help address the stalemate in the talks on the so-called ‘northern territories’ problem, on which the two countries’ positions differ radically.
Putin was one of the first world leaders to congratulate Abe on Japan's winning bid to host the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, government sources said.
Japan is seeking what it calls ‘a return’ of three islands of the southern Kurile range that went over to the USSR together with the rest of the Kuriles at the very end of World War II - Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan and the Habomai archipelago.