Japan is sending a top diplomat to China for talks, as Chinese ships again entered waters close to islands both sides claim.
Vice-Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai will hold two days of talks aimed at easing tensions, the foreign ministry said.
Japan has lodged a protest over the ships, which sailed near islands called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Japan controls the islands and accused China of entering its territorial waters.
The row between the two sides has been rumbling for years but escalated in recent weeks after the Japanese government bought three of the East China Sea islands from their private Japanese owner.
On Sunday China cancelled a ceremony scheduled for Thursday to mark 40 years of ties with Japan because of the tensions.
A group of Japanese business leaders who have met top Chinese officials annually since 1975 have also cancelled their visit, due later this month.
Article courtesy of The BBC.