Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang starts a nine-day visit to Japan on Sunday, amid rising tensions over the disputed Diaoyu Islands. He was scheduled to exchange views about the East China Sea islands with his Japanese counterparts and with media leaders, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said. The highlight of the official's visit will be a trip to the southern island of Okinawa, near the Diaoyu Islands. He will also travel to the western city of Kobe before returning to China. The Japanese Government claims the disputed archipelago is part of Okinawa and comes under its administration. During his five-day stay in the Japanese capital, Mr Shen is scheduled to meet representatives from the Japanese news agency, Kyodo, and from newspapers such as the Asahi Shimbun and the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.