During a summit at the Kremlin on Saturday afternoon, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed they will make efforts to conclude a postwar peace treaty and accelerate bilateral economic cooperation.

However, the outcome of the latest talks between the Japanese and Russian leaders reinforced the view that Tokyo finds itself trapped in a constant balancing act in its dealings with Moscow, which is facing a growing feud with the West.

The 21st face-to-face meeting between Abe and Putin came at a time when ties between the United States, Japan's key ally, and Russia have deteriorated due partly to multiple international conflicts.