Vladimir Putin said when opening the meeting that Moscow was alarmed by the news about the deteriorating health of Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi.
Mr Putin said he was shocked by the news because he had talked with the prime minister by telephone only recently to arrange a meeting.
The acting president also said that Mr Obuchi had asked him to meet with Muneo Suzuki, which he was doing now. He said Mr Obuchi expected important results from that meeting, notably an agreement for a summit meeting.
Mr Putin and Mr Suzuki discussed Russian-Japanese relations, preparations for the G8 summit to be held in Okinawa in July, and the schedule of possible future contacts between the two leaders.