Although Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin diverged in their approaches to reining in North Korea's nuclear ambitions at their summit Thursday, it wasn't all bad news for the Japanese leader.

For Abe, the urgency of addressing North Korea provided a welcome distraction from the limited progress made in solving their territorial dispute and lack of a postwar peace treaty, analysts say.

Abe is pinning his hopes on joint economic activities on the Russia-held, Japan-claimed islands off Hokkaido to pave the way for resolving the territorial dispute, but there was little sign of progress at Thursday's summit.