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Putin presents judo book, receives honorary degree in Tokyo


TOKYO, May 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minster Vladimir Putin presented his book on judo and received an honorary doctorate from Tokyo University on Tuesday.

"Let's Learn Judo with Vladimir Putin" was written by the former Russian president along with Vasily Shestakov and Alexei Levitsky. The book gives a complete history of judo, from its origins in Japanese jujitsu through its development into an Olympic sport, including Russia's contributions to the martial art. The book was released in Russia in 1999 and comes with an instructional video.

"Reading this book we find out that Putin is not only a real practitioner of judo, but well-versed in the essence of techniques of judo and the soul," Yasuhiro Yamashita, gold medalist in the 1984 Olympic Games open category, said at a presentation of the Japanese edition of the book.

Putin said he hoped his book could, even in small way, improve Russian-Japanese relations and mutual understanding.

"An ancient wise man said, 'It's easy to love the whole world, but try to love your neighbor.' If the book can increase even a little bit knowledge of each other in our countries, then I will consider it to have achieved its aim," he said.

Putin was granted an honorary doctorate by the university for his efforts to strengthen Russian-Japanese relations and his knowledge of judo.

Putin also said that Russians had always had a special appreciation of Japanese culture. "I am speaking of its dance, its theatre, and I have forgotten one more important element - its cuisine."

He also called the Japanese a "great people."

Putin arrived in Tokyo on Monday for talks with the Japanese leadership, including on a long-standing territorial dispute and economic, energy and international issues.

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