Japan and Russia have agreed to revive securitytalks.

and start discussing economic cooperation on disputed islands at the center of a rowthat has prevented them from signing a peace treaty formally ending the Second World War.

Park Jong-hong reports.

Emerging from the high profile meeting heldat a hot springs resort in southwest Japan,.

the leaders, for starters, agreed to restartsecurity talks between their foreign and defense ministers.

The talks had been suspended after Russiaannexed Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014.

a move that triggered Western sanctions.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said hehad frank discussions with President Vladimir Putin about the disputed western Pacific islandsknown in Japan as the Northern Territories and in Russia as the Southern Kuriles.

They discussed free travel by former islandresidents, economic activities on the islands under a special system of both countries andsigning a peace treaty.

The seven-decade-long dispute over the islandshas prevented the signing of a peace treaty that would formally end World War Two.

The islands were seized by Soviet forces inthe final days of the war and 17-thousand Japanese were forced to flee.

The islands remain controlled by Moscow tothis day.

However,.

both leaders have tried to playdown expectations about a breakthrough on the matter.

Japanese media said Abe brought up the NorthKorea nuclear issue, saying a strict implementation of UN Security Council resolutions is crucialand that he wished for Russia's cooperation on the matter.

In response, Putin is said to have underscoredthe need for dialogue.

The leaders also reportedly exchanged viewson the Syria crisis among a range of issues.

The leaders are set to meet again in Tokyoon Friday and issue a statement at a joint press conference.

Park Jong-hong, Arirang News.