Senior officials from Japan's government coalition parties announced in Beijing Sunday that their county would pull out all the stops to ensure the success of Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming visit to Japan.
"Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Japanese government warmly welcome Wen's visit. We hope to improve our relations through mutual visits between our respective state leaders," said Hidenao Nakagawa, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
Japan expects to see progress made on the dispute surrounding oil and gas joint exploitation in the East China Sea during Wen's visit, he said.
A delegation from Japan's ruling parties, headed by Nakagawa and Kazuo Kitagawa, secretary-general of ruling coalition partner New Komeito, arrived in Beijing Thursday evening for a five-day visit to China.
Before their departure to Beijing, Abe spoke to Nakagawa and Kitagawa, instructing them to help create a favorable atmosphere for Wen's visit scheduled for April.
Speaking to Xinhua, Nakagawa and Kitagawa announced that improving understanding between Japanese and Chinese people, especially among younger generations, would prove vital in moving forward bilateral relations.
Nakagawa further announced that he would also lead a large delegation to China later this year as part of bilateral personnel exchanges.
Kitagawa also stated that Japan's visa application procedures for Chinese tourists would be simplified. 810,000 Chinese tourists traveled to Japan in 2006 with their respective number this year set to top one million.
Addressing bilateral trade and economic cooperation, Nakagawa described the symbiotic relationship between the Chinese and Japanese economies, labeling China's continuous growth in this regard, conducive to Japan's financial well-being.
China-Japan relations soured following former Japanese leader Junichiro Koizumi's persistent visits to Yasukuni Shrine, wherein 14 Japanese class-A war criminals in the second World War are held in high honor among Japan's other war dead.
The two countries appeared to begin dispelling these obstacles last October when new Japanese PM Abe paid an ice-breaking visit to Beijing.
(Xinhua News Agency March 19, 2007)