Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin have announced new initiatives to further expand economic ties and tourist exchanges between the two nations, but have made no visible progress on a decades-long territorial dispute.
The Soviet Union took the four southernmost Kuril Islands in the closing days of World War II. Japan asserts territorial rights to the islands, which it calls the Northern Territories, and the dispute has kept the countries from signing a peace treaty.
Abe said Saturday's talks confirmed a shared intention to solve the problem. He said the parties moved closer to reaching agreement on joint economic projects on the disputed islands.
He also announced that Japan will offer simpler visa procedures for Russian businessmen and tourists.
Putin voiced hope that joint projects will "help create conditions for finding mutually acceptable solutions of the most difficult problems.