Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in Russia to strengthen relations with Putin
Tokyo-Moscow relations are hamstrung by a row dating back to the end of World War II when Soviet troops seized the southernmost islands in the Pacific Kuril chain, known as the Northern Territories in Japan. The tensions have prevented the countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending wartime hostilities, hindering trade and investment ties.
Abe's visit to Russia – his second this year – comes days after the Kremlin announced that Putin will travel to Japan in December, his first trip to the country since 2005.
Experts view recent rapprochement efforts as a positive development for Moscow's trade ties with stalwart US ally Tokyo but doubt that they will result in a resolution of their territorial dispute.
Over the years, leaders from the two nations have tried to make headway on resolving the row but a solution has proved elusive and still looks some way off.
Both sides have confirmed that Friday's talks – taking place on the sidelines of an economic forum in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok – will touch upon the disputed islands.