Japan sounded China out on holding phone talks between Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and President Xi Jinping at an early date when the foreign ministers of the two countries met in Beijing earlier this month, sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi made the proposal during his meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Qin Gang, on April 2, with Tokyo believing summit dialogue is vital to building "constructive and stable" bilateral relations, the sources said.

During the envisioned phone talks, Kishida is expected to call on Xi to release a male Japanese citizen detained in China last month on suspicion of espionage as soon as possible, the sources said.