The territorial dispute has prevented Russia and Japan from signing a formal treaty to end the Second World War.
Russian President Vladimir Putin heads to Japan on Thursday to meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the latest effort to reach an agreement on the 70-year territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands.
The dispute involves four islands controlled by Russia but claimed by Japan. It has prevented the two nations from signing a formal treaty to end World War Two.
Japan sees Russia as a place to invest, and Moscow needs that money at a time when its economy is suffering from low oil prices and Western sanctions.
Restoring ties with Japan could bolster Russia's standing in the east, after the West moved to isolate Moscow following its 2014 annexation of Crimea.
But both sides have cautioned against expectations of a breakthrough during this visit.
TRT World's Mayu Yoshida has more from Tokyo.