Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio is considering holding talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the APEC summit to be held in San Francisco next week.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum is slated from Wednesday through Friday.
The Japanese government is to dispatch a high-ranking official to China to coordinate the talks, with an eye on scheduling them on Thursday.
Government sources hope the talks can take place that day as a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Xi is planned to be held the day before.
The secretary general of Japan's National Security Secretariat, Akiba Takeo, will visit China on Thursday for talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Tokyo is to keep an eye on whether Biden and Xi's summit will be held before making a final decision.
If Kishida and Xi meet for talks, it will be their first in about a year.
Kishida hopes to press Japan's case on pending bilateral issues, including the suspension of Japanese seafood imports that Beijing put in place following the release of treated and diluted water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea.
He aims to build constructive and stable bilateral relations with China by expressing willingness to cooperate on sticking points.
Kishida also plans to visit Stanford University with South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol to exchange views on cutting-edge technologies, including artificial intelligence, with firms in a bid to strengthen ties with Seoul.