The Chinese coastguard vessels sailed into the 12-nautical-mile territorial waters at about 8:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) off one of the Senkaku islands, which China also claims and calls the Diaoyus, Japan's coastguard said.
They left less than two hours later.
Sunday's intrusion was the first since December 29 when three Chinese coastguard ships entered the zone and stayed for around three hours.
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