The government has asked China to lend it more giant pandas, government sources said Friday.
With this year marking the 40th anniversary of the signing of their peace and friendship treaty, the Japanese side hopes the loan will take place as a symbol of improving ties.
The government is considering zoos in Kobe and Sendai as candidates for any additional pandas, the sources said.
Foreign Minister Taro Kono made a request for new pandas in a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, during his visit to China in late January. Kono asked China to provide Japan with new crested ibises as well.
Under its so-called panda diplomacy, China creates a mood of friendship with other nations using giant pandas.
There are nine giant pandas in Japan including Xiang Xiang, the female cub born at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo in June last year.