It's Shinzo Abe who moonlights as the leader of Japan
Shinzo Abe is meeting with Vladimir Putin more often than Alexander Lukashenko and Benjamin Netanyahu combined. For what reasons we can not divine. The last time they met Putin poured cold water all over Abe's face:
The visit was the first by Putin Japan in 11 years, and an important moment for the Russian president to melt some ice with the West. Ahead of the visit, however, Putin dashed any hopes the Japanese might have had for this meeting.
A few days ahead of his trip, at a meeting with the Japanese press corps in his residence, Putin declared that Russia has no territorial dispute with Japan.
Then he promptly and somewhat humiliatingly refused a highly symbolic gift from Shinzo Abe – a male companion to Putin’s Japanese dog Yume.
Finally, Putin arrived in Japan over two hours late, without a warning and, as it appeared, for no obvious official reason. An embarrassed Shinzo Abe was shown on national TV waiting in the rain, and being prompted to fill in the time by visiting his late father’s grave.
And then, when the Japanese prime minister was hoping that their meeting will finally pick up, Putin once again embarrassed his host.
In front of live TV cameras, at the amicable exchange of traditional pleasantries during the initial welcoming ceremony, Putin quite forthrightly refused Abe’s courtesy invitation to enjoy the local food and “relax” in the hot springs after the anticipated (intense) negotiations, with the unequivocal comment “best not to get too tired.” Message sent!
And yet Abe is coming for more:
The Kremlin says Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will travel to Russia and meet with President Vladimir Putin on April 27.
A statement on the Kremlin website on April 25 said Abe and Putin will discuss the implementation of agreements they reached during Putin's visit to Japan in December, but did not give specifics.
Maybe one day Putin is going to give him the Kuril Island chain Abe so greatly desires. But we wouldn't bet on it.