Russia on Thursday warned Japan not to expect a decades-old territorial row to be resolved ahead of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's visit to Tokyo early next week.
"I would like to stress our readiness for a calm, constructive conversation on this topic and what's more important, without some sort of inflated expectations and therefore without disappointment," Yury Ushakov, a veteran diplomat and deputy head of Putin's staff, told reporters.
"Expectations then cause major disappointments."
Putin is expected in Tokyo for a day of talks Tuesday with a high-powered delegation of top businessmen and officials.
He is scheduled to meet his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso as well as former premiers Junichiro Koizumi and Yoshiro Mori.
Japanese officials planned to raise their "favorite territorial problem," said Ushakov, and while Russia was ready to discuss any hypothetical scenarios it was important to avoid "extreme positions."
A decades-old territorial row over four Russian islands off Japan's northern Hokkaido island, known in Japan as the Northern Territories and in Russia as the Southern Kuriles, has long cast a shadow over the bilateral ties.
The two countries have never signed a peace treaty because of the dispute over the islands, which were seized by Soviet troops in 1945.
Ahead of Putin's visit, Japan said it expected Russia to answer to Tokyo's call to move towards a solution.
But Ushakov said it was important not to let bilateral issues hamper economic cooperation.
The two government will sign 10 government and commercial agreements during the visit, including on peaceful uses of nuclear energy and an agreement to build a wind power plant on the Russky island off Vladivostok on the Russian Pacific, the scene of an APEC summit in 2014.
Some of the country's top businessmen, including Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, Rosneft president Sergei Bogdanchikov and UC Rusal co-owner and CEO Oleg Deripaska, will accompany the premier to Japan.
A judo black belt, Putin would also unveil a Japanese language version of his book on the sport, Ushakov said.© Wire reports