Photo/IllutrationPrime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Moscow on May 26. (Pool Photo via AP)

MOSCOW--Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin to speed up joint business activity on four islands that the Soviet Union seized from Japan in the closing days of World War II.

"The Japanese and the Russians will be able to reap the fruits of the joint work on the islands," Abe said here on Saturday after the meeting with Putin. "If we cooperate, we can achieve great results that bring mutual benefit."

Putin said a Japanese business delegation would visit the islands this year.

The two leaders also discussed North Korea and other geopolitical issues.

At a news conference after the meeting, Putin called on all sides involved in the situation around North Korea to show restraint, while Abe said it was vital Pyongyang completely shed itself of all nuclear weapons.

Japan, which calls the four islands in northern Japan its Northern Territories, is seeking to implement joint business projects as a way to gain momentum to resolve the territorial dispute.

Abe has been pushing for a way forward in the dispute, which has kept the two countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending World War II hostilities.

Putin said it was important to patiently look for a solution with Japan that would allow the two countries to finally conclude a World War II peace treaty that would reflect the strategic interests of both.

Abe earlier spoke at an economic forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, also attended by Putin.

He said that Japan and Russia should sign a peace treaty so that they can realize their economic cooperation ambitions, adding that the four islands could become a symbol of cooperation between Tokyo and Moscow.