>> Putting a friendly face on things in Japan on Friday. Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe agreeing to discuss joint developments on disputed islands in the west Pacific. But analysts say the Japanese prime minister is likely walking away from the summit very disappointed. Tokyo's been hoping for a breakthrough in the question of who actually owns the islands.
An argument dating back to World War II, that's still painful for some in Japan today. But Putin isn't budging. Reuters' Linda Sieg says Abe's failure to get a deal is leading to some soul searching.>> It is possible that the Japanese side misread Putin's stance. Which many experts had said was quite stern from the beginning.
Another possibility that has been suggested is that the election of Donald Trump as the US president changed the dynamics. That Putin was originally keen to drive a wedge between the allies, the United States and Japan by getting closer to Tokyo. But with the election of Mr. Trump, who signalled that he wants to improve relations between Washington and Moscow.
It became somewhat less attractive to Putin to try to wean Tokyo from the US side. So that he had less reason to compromise.>> For now, Abe is putting a positive spin on things, at least in public.>> I've been saying for some time that the Russia-Japanese relationship is the relationship with the most potential.
And Russia is the country with the most untapped potential.>> Putin is getting a lot of help from Japan in tapping some potential. Wrapping up his Japan trip with 68 economic deals. Including an agreement to set up a $1 billion joint investment fund. But Abe's not coming away totally empty handed.
Making friends with Moscow is seen as good strategy for Tokyo as it tries to counter the rise of another giant neighbor, China.