• Kyodo

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Tokyo and Moscow are making final arrangements for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet for talks on Feb. 8 in Sochi, a Japanese government official said.

Moscow is also considering holding a special luncheon for Abe afterward, the official said Sunday. Abe will be in Russia to attend the Feb. 7 opening ceremony for the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Abe is going to Sochi to demonstrate the importance that Japan places on its relations with Russia. His presence at the Sochi Winter Olympics will be particularly significant as U.S. and European leaders have decided not to attend the opening ceremony to protest anti-gay legislation enacted by Russia last year.

Abe and Putin are expected to reaffirm their desire to expand economic ties between Japan and Russia and make progress toward resolving a long-stalled territorial dispute over Russian-administered islands off Hokkaido, the official said.

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