Japan’s Abe oversees puppy handover to Russian Olympic champion

Endo Takashi, head of the Association for the preservation of the purity of the Akito breed, Russian figure skating gold medallist Alina Zagitova, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe poses with an Akita Inu puppy presented to Zagitova, in Moscow, Russia May 26, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on a three-day visit to Russia, took part on Saturday in the handing over of an Akita puppy to Russian Olympic champion figure skater Alina Zagitova.

The three-month old female puppy has been offered to the teenage Pyeongchang Winter Olympic gold medalist by a group dedicated to preserving the Japanese breed.

Abe, who arrived in Russia on Thursday for an economic forum in St Petersburg, is due to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin later on Saturday in the Kremlin.

Accompanied by his wife, Abe petted the fluffy dog before it was handed over to the 16-year-old Zagitova.

Zagitova fell in love with the breed while training in Japan before and during the Olympics and asked her parents to let her have an Akita puppy if she won the Games.

The puppy is called Masaru, which is a male name that means “win” or “victory”.

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