Putin's brief stop at the Imperial Palace capped a three-day visit to Japan during which the two countries agreed to boost economic ties, despite their long-standing inability to resolve the issue of the southern Kurile islands, which Japan refers to as its Northern Territories.
Moscow and Tokyo never signed a peace treaty after World War II, when Moscow seized the islands. Russia has refused to cede them -- a long-standing Japanese objective.
During Putin's trip, Japan and Russia agreed to start ministerial talks on security issues and they signed accords on counterterrorism and on Japan's support for Moscow's entry into the World Trade Organization.
RFE/RL Russia Report
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