Russia appears to have snubbed a Japanese attempt at dog diplomacy by declining the gift of a puppy for President Vladimir Putin at a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The Japanese government had planned to present Mr Putin, widely known to be a canine lover, with a male Akita as a “bridegroom” to Yume, a female of the same breed that Japan gave the Russian leader in 2012.
But a Japanese legislator said Russia had turned down the offer.
“Unfortunately, we heard from our counterparts, and our hope to present a bridegroom was dashed,” House of Representatives member Koichi Hagiuda said in a blog post on Friday.
He did not give a reason for the rejection.
Mr Abe and Mr Putin will meet in Japan next week where they are expected to work towards reviving security talks and joint naval rescue training halted after Russia annexed the Crimea region in 2014.
Mr Putin is known to be an animal lover who has been photographed riding horses, swimming with dolphins and cuddling a leopard.
In addition to Yume, which means “dream” in Japanese, he is the owner of Buffy, a male Bulgarian Shepherd given by Bulgaria’s prime minister in 2010.