"While China-Japan relations continue to warm, it is hoped that the two sides could use the opportunity of Premier Li Keqiang's visit to bring a fresh start to peace and friendship between the two countries," said Yuji Miyamoto, former Japanese Ambassador to China.
At the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is scheduled to pay an official visit to Japan and attend the 7th China-Japan-South Korea leaders' meeting in Tokyo beginning on May 8.
It is the first visit by a Chinese premier to the neighboring country in eight years, and also the first trilateral meeting of its kind in two and a half years.
Miyamoto said that Li's visit to Japan would provide an opportunity for the two sides to get their bilateral relationship back on track. As long as the two sides uphold regional peace and maintain cooperative ties the bilateral friendship will deepen naturally.
"It is hoped that the two sides will be dedicated to promoting mutual political trust, expanding win-win economic cooperation and enhancing friendship between the people," he said.
Miyamoto added that squarely facing up to history and looking to the future are the foundations of mutual trust.
As this year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Miyamoto hoped that the Japanese people, especially the younger generation, could objectively learn of their country's past wrongs, including its invasion of China, where it brought tremendous suffering to the Chinese people.
He also hoped that younger Chinese could learn more about Japan's contribution to China's economic development after the latter launched its reform and opening up, as well as Japan's peaceful development after the end of the World War II.
"Only by doing so can the people of both countries have better mutual understanding," he said.
In his opinion, it is important for the two countries to enhance direct people-to-people communication through various activities, and the media should also play a role by including more stories that serve to bring the people of the two countries closer together.
Miyamoto also called upon Japan to actively participate in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, believing that its construction would benefit Asia as well as the world.
"I hope China and Japan could take more concrete steps toward cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative framework, and I believe it will become the embodiment of the China-Japan relationship in the new era," he said.
Regarding the 7th China-Japan-South Korea leaders' meeting, Miyamoto said he hoped the three countries could realize their goal of building a regional free trade bloc, which "will help strengthen the trend of global free trade."
Miyamoto was in Beijing as Japanese Ambassador to China when the first China-Japan-South Korea leaders' meeting was held in December 2008, praising the launch of the talks.
"Direct dialogue between leaders of the three countries on issues concerning regional peace and development will surely have a positive effect," he said.