TOKYO, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming visit will be of great help to further improve Japan-China relations, said Kazuo Kodama, press secretary of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, in an interview with Xinhua.
Noting that bilateral ties have been very good since Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama took office last year, Kodama said that the Japanese government and the Japanese people will "wholeheartedly" welcome Premier Wen this weekend.
Wen is scheduled to arrive in Japan on Sunday, the second leg of his four-nation Asian tour. He is scheduled to hold talks with Hatoyama and also meet with Emperor Akihito, speakers of both houses of parliament and local business leaders.
On top of the agenda, said Kodama, is the meeting between Wen and Hatoyama, during which the two leaders will discuss all important regional and international issues, including situation on the Korean Peninsula climate change, regional cooperation and nuclear disarmament.
"Through all these programs, we hope the premier will further deepen understanding on Japan," the official said.
On current Japan-China ties, Kodama said the good relations can be proved by the number of top- and high-level meetings between the two countries, as four summits and five foreign ministerial meetings have taken place since the Hatoyama administration came to power.
"Japan has conducted such extensive bilateral talks with China alone. No other countries have enjoyed such extensive meetings on the political level," he said.
Economic relations have also made steady progress. China is Japan's biggest trading partner and Japan is China's third biggest. China is also Japan's largest overseas investment destination.
"About 25,000 Japanese corporations are represented in China. This fact tells us Japan and China are so much interdependent economically," said Kodama.
People-to-people exchanges are also showing a very positive pattern. Last year alone, the total number of visitors between the two countries reached nearly 5 million. "That figure is a good evidence of ever closer contacts between the two countries," he added.
Meanwhile, Kodama named a couple of pillars to further shore up the strategic mutually beneficial bilateral ties.
One important aspect, he said, is to further strengthen highest level dialogues between the two countries so as to deepen the sense of trust.
Another is to improve public sentiment toward each other. "We can't force them to change their attitude, but have to show them our relationship has been improving by concrete examples," Kodama said.
"We have already established many youth exchange programs, mutual visits among businessmen and students. These are very effective and the two governments are fully committed to increasing the exchange programs," he added.
The ongoing World Expo in Shanghai is also serving as a good platform for the Japanese people to know more about China, Kodama said, adding that Prime Minister Hatoyama is very keen on travelling to Shanghai to attend the national pavilion day of Japan in June.