Resource and energy experts from the two countries met in Beijing to discuss technical aspects of the issue but did not exchange data on each other's gas exploration projects, a Foreign Ministry official said on condition of anonymity, citing protocol.
Tokyo and Beijing agreed last month to make progress on resolving the row over gas exploration rights ahead of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's April 11-13 visit to Japan.
During Friday's talks in Beijing, the experts exchanged technical views about a possible joint development of reserves, but no agreement was reached, the official said. No other details could be released, he said.
The gas exploration row is among numerous disputes between Japan and China, ranging from territorial sovereignty over a small island chain in the East China Sea to Japan's wartime atrocities.
Both nations are eager to develop new sources of energy and have held talks to try to settle the dispute since 2004, but without any progress. An earlier meeting last week in Tokyo also yielded no agreement.
A Japanese Embassy official in Beijing said he hoped the two sides would see joint development as a way out of the row. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as per protocol, added that Wen's visit next week would hopefully give good impetus toward resolving the issue.
Tokyo hopes to strengthen strategic and mutually beneficial relations with China, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Wen are expected to discuss energy environment, defense cooperation, North Korea and other international relations, he said.
During Wen's visit, Japan and China also plan to announce the creation of a high-level economic forum, in which economy ministers from the two countries are expected to participate, the embassy official said.
Wen will be traveling to South Korea and Japan next week, a visit seen as a significant step toward forging closer ties between the neighbors and improving regional security.
Japan was China's third largest trading partner last year after the European Union and the U.S., according to China's Ministry of Commerce figures.