China has canceled a visit by Japan's foreign minister after a visit by the Japanese prime minister to a shrine where convicted war criminals are among those honored.

China's decision to cancel the visit later this month by Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura came after Beijing protested the Japanese leader's visit Monday to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.

The shrine is where many Japanese pay tribute to the country's war dead, including a number of war criminals convicted for atrocities committed during Japan's brutal occupation of China and other parts of Asia in the first half of the 20th century.

At a regular briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan confirmed that Mr. Machimura's visit has been called off.

Mr. Kong says this is not the right time for a visit, and he said China is not in a position to receive the Japanese diplomat.

In Tokyo, Mr. Machimura says Japan will continue to try to convince the Chinese to allow the trip.

The Japanese foreign minister says it is important to continue talks at various levels and he said it is Japan's responsibility to continue making efforts to establish better relations with China.

The Chinese communist leadership has previously allowed citizens to protest against Japanese interests over Japan's military past. In April, some protests turned violent as the Chinese raged over what they said was Japanese history textbooks' whitewashing of Tokyo's aggression in China.

Meanwhile, authorities prepared for possible new protests. Chinese police deployed outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing and consular officials of some nations warned their citizens to be wary of disturbances.