'Judo is not the only thing that connects Russia and Japan,' said President Vladimir Putin opening a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in St. Petersburg on May 30. Putin said in Russia 'there are many people who love Japan and its culture.' He also said that 'meetings with Junichiro Koizumi have always been genuinely sincere.' Putin said that this was a good base for developing Russo-Japanese relations in political as well as economic spheres. 'We need to push the development of our relations on the political level,' said Putin.
Koizumi said that it is highly significant in the development of relations between Japan and Russia that Putin is a 'judo master.' He said that 'it contributes to establishing friendly relations which will be optimised on the needed level.'
Putin and Koizumi visited the gymnasium of the school of advanced sports mastery. They conversed with the school's instructor and then frugally sat on the gymnasium's benches and watched a training session of young judo students. Finally, Koizumi presented the students with judo equipment.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had had a few fights and used strong language because of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014