"Our relations with Russia hold unlimited potential," Japan's Shinzo Abe said, speaking at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia Wednesday.
"Over the long stretch of more than 70 years since the end of World War II, Japan and Russia have yet to conclude a peace treaty between them. Both (President Vladimir) Putin and I agreed this is an abnormal state of affairs."
The peace deal relates to a dispute over a chain of Pacific islands since the time of World War II. Both countries have not signed a peace treaty since then.
Putin, also speaking at the same event Wednesday, pointed out that Russia and Japan's militaries are cooperating for the first time. The Russian leader told Abe that the two nations should pen a peace agreement this year.
"Let's conclude a peace treaty before the end of this year, without any pre-conditions," Putin told Abe at the forum, with the Japanese leader not giving a direct response.
Shortly after the statements were made, Japan's chief government spokesman issued a statement saying there would be no change to Japan's positioning on resolving the northern islands issue before signing a treaty with Russia.
The Eastern Economic forum, which covers economic development, cooperation and investment projects in northeast Asia and is now in its fourth year, attracted more than 6,000 attendees from over 60 countries.