Japan and China agreed Wednesday to implement a long-sought maritime and aerial communication mechanism, aimed at averting unintended clashes between their armed forces in and above nearby waters, in the latest sign of improving bilateral ties.

As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met for the first time in Tokyo, the two countries, whose ties were strained for years over territorial and wartime issues, signed a range of cooperation agreements, covering areas such as investment, infrastructure-building and social security.

"Momentum for improvement in the Japan-China relationship, which has kicked off a new start, has been increasing quickly," Abe told a joint news conference. "I want to build a relationship in which leaders can easily travel to each other's country."