Abe to discuss disputed Kuril islands with Putin
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make a three-day visit to Moscow next week for talks with President Vladimir Putin.
Abe's visit, starting on Sunday, appears aimed at boosting ties hindered by a long-standing territorial dispute dating from the second world war.
Japan and Russia have long expressed a desire to expand relations in particular in business, but ties have been limited by the dispute over the Pacific Kuril islands.
The two nations have never formally signed a second world war peace treaty, with Japan maintaining its claim over the southernmost four of the islands, all controlled by Moscow.
However Abe has shown signs of a more conciliatory line on the issue than his predecessor, saying in February that he wanted to find a "mutually acceptable solution" to the territorial row.
After Abe took office in December, he and Putin agreed to restart talks on a peace treaty.
The four islands claimed by Tokyo are known as the Northern Territories in Japan. The islands have been controlled by Moscow since they were seized by Soviet troops in 1945.