Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have met for talks in Moscow that included resolving a dispute over four Pacific islands and eventually signing a peace treaty.

Abe has been pushing for a way forward in the dispute that centers on the four most southern of the Kuril Islands, which Japan calls the Northern Territories.

The Soviet Union took the islands in the closing days of World War II. The dispute has kept the two countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending World War II hostilities.

Japan is seeking to implement joint business projects on the Kuril Islands as a way to gain momentum to resolve the dispute.

Putin said after the meeting Saturday that a Japanese business delegation would visit the islands this year.