Tue, August 14, 2012
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Putin to receive Akita puppy from Japan

2012-07-28 10:17:34 GMT2012-07-28 18:17:34(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

MOSCOW, July 28 (Xinhua) -- A Japanese puppy given to Russian President Vladimir Putin by a Japanese local government has arrived here and is expected to meet its new host this weekend.

The three-month Akita dog was given by the Akita prefecture to show gratitude for Russia's help after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami hit Japan last year, Norihisa Satake, head of the prefecture has said.

Despite a number of thorny issues between Japan and Russia, Satake hoped the puppy could help deepen mutual understanding and strengthen bilateral ties, the local governor said in a statement.

During its 10-hour flight from Tokyo to Moscow, the female dog, named Yume, never barked and was welcomed by other passengers, Japanese media reported.

Yume, which means dream in Japanese, was upgraded from the cargo hold to business class and received VIP treatment at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport, the report said.

After her arrival, Yume was passed on to an employee of the presidential office at around 6 p.m. Friday, before heading to the presidential residence, Japanese regional officials said.

Putin, known for his love of dogs, has a Labrador named Koni and a Bulgarian shepherd named Baffi. The Akita breed is recognized as a heritage treasure in Japan and one of the 14 oldest species in the world.

On Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met his Japanese counterpart, Koichiro Gemba, in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Gemba is to meet Putin later and might personally present the dog to Putin, local media reported.

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