TOKYO Nov 30 Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko
Noda has postponed a visit to Russia planned for next month
citing President Vladimir Putin's health problems, Japanese
media reported on Friday.
Kyodo and Jiji news agencies reported that Noda talked about
the delay while meeting municipal officials during his trip to
the northern island of Hokkaido.
"It's about (President Putin's) health problem. This is not
something that can easily be made public," Jiji cited one of the
officials as saying, quoting Noda.
The question of Putin's condition has been a subject of
media speculation since he was seen limping at an Asia-Pacific
summit in the Russian port of Vladivostok in September.
Three Russian government sources told Reuters late in
October that Putin, who began a six-year term in May and turned
60 last month, was suffering from back trouble, but the Kremlin
has dismissed talk that he had a serious back problem.
Putin's health troubles stem from a recent bout of judo,
according to Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko.
"He loves judo. He lifted a guy, threw him, and twisted his
spine," Lukashenko told Reuters this week.
Several foreign trips which had been expected in November
but were never officially announced by the Kremlin have not
taken place. Putin is expected to make trips to Turkey and
Turkmenistan next week.
Likely to have been on the agenda in talks between Russian
and Japanese officials are energy cooperation and a decades-old
dispute over islands north of Hokkaido, known as Kurile in
Russia and referred to as the Northern Territories in Japan.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Writing by Tomasz Janowski;
Editing by Nick Macfie)