France and Japan touted support for a "free and open maritime order" in the Asia-Pacific region, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after talks with French President Francois Hollande on Monday.

The message seemed aimed at China, which claims almost all the South China Sea and has fueled concerns in Japan and the West with its growing military presence in the strategic waterway.

"Francois and I agreed on the importance of ensuring a free and open maritime order in the Indo-Pacific region (and) of continuing to support the stability and prosperity of this region," Abe told reporters after the talks.