Senior officials from Japan and Russia agreed Monday to promote bilateral economic cooperation on developing the Russian Far East, according to the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo.

The two sides reached the agreement after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe presented an eight-point plan, including development of the Russian region closest to Japan, in a May 6 meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, southern Russia, as part of efforts to address the 70-year-old territorial dispute over four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido.

"We would like to further advance cooperation (with Russia) in politics, including negotiations for signing a postwar peace treaty, (and regarding) the economy, security, culture and people-to-people exchanges," Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko told Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev in a meeting in Tokyo, part of which was open to the media.

The dispute over the islands has prevented Tokyo and Moscow from concluding a postwar peace treaty.

The plan also includes bilateral cooperation in areas such as energy, cutting-edge technology, promotion of small and midsize companies, and diversifying Russian industry and raising productivity.

Trutnev, who doubles as the presidential plenipotentiary envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District, said Putin "highly appreciates" the eight-point plan advocated by Abe.

Citing the geographical proximity of the two countries, Trutnev said development of the Russian Far East is a priority issue for Moscow in the 21st century.

He said that in a separate meeting earlier Monday, Japanese business leaders expressed "strong interest" in business opportunities presented by developing the Russian Far East.

Speaking to reporters after the May 6 talks with Putin, Abe said that the two leaders agreed to promote negotiations for the territorial issue "with a new approach, free of any past ideas," without elaborating.