Japanese PM cancels trip to Russia because ‘Putin not feeling well’

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo courtesy of the Press Service of the Russian President. (RIA Novosti)
The Kremlin has denied rumors about President Putin’s ill health and said the visit by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was not delayed since its date has never actually been determined. However, the trip might take place in January.

“We hope that the visit will take place and proceed from the assumption that it will take place in the second half of January," Vladimir Putin’s press-secretary Dmitry Peskov told Itar-Tass.

After Putin’s meeting with Noda in Vladivostok at the APEC summit, several options for the visit were considered.

"As far as I know, until the last moment the opportunity for making the visit in the second half of January has been discussed," Peskov added.

Earlier on Friday, the Japanese PM said he postponed his trip to Moscow over Putin’s “health problems.”

Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov called such “leaks” from the Japanese side about the trip dates “unethical”.

“It’s not appropriate to talk about this,” he stated. He said he has been dealing with organization of the visit since October, but the agreeing of possible dates is a closed diplomatic process. But since there was a “leak” anyway, he said, the sides have so far agreed about January.

The talks about Putin’s health started earlier this week after Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko unexpectedly decided to dwell on this subject in his interview with Reuters news agency.

"I know he has this problem. He loves judo. He lifted a guy, threw him, and twisted his spine," Lukashenko said. He added that he had suggested Putin play ice hockey with him, but Putin had to refuse.

Dmitry Peskov refused to comment on Lukashenko’s statement, but earlier he acknowledged that Putin really had had “an ordinary sports trauma,” without specifying when and where it had been received.

The head of the Kremlin Administration, Sergey Ivanov, confirmed on Friday that the Russian president had “a light” sports trauma.

“Don’t worry, he is in good physical condition, and he will continue to do sports,” Ivanov told journalists. “The president’s schedule for December, I think, proves that everything is fine with his health,” he added.

Dmitry Medvedev stressed earlier that the rumors were greatly exaggerated.

“He takes a lot of physical exercise. This is what he does in fact. So he is alive and well, and thank God everything is fine with him,” the prime minister stated in an interview with Finnish media.