Presidential trip to Tokyo will probably be a success: consul Recent 'noticeable positive developments' in Sino-Japanese relations could advance further with a visit to Japan by President Hu Jintao next year, the Japanese Consul in Hong Kong, Shigekazu Sato, said. It was now 'high time' for the two countries to co-operate and contribute constructively to a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests, he said, adding that 'both countries have started on this path'. Based on Mr Hu's overseas performances in the past few years, a visit to Japan would probably be a success. 'He's been making friends with people [from his overseas visits] and he's been doing a good job,' Mr Sato said at a lunch organised by the Japan Society of Hong Kong yesterday. And that would be the case if he should visit Japan next year. It is understood the two countries are discussing the possibility of a reciprocal state visit by Mr Hu to Japan next year, the 35th anniversary of the normalisation of relations between the two countries. The Japanese government and public would 'warmly welcome' the Chinese leader if such a visit took place, Mr Sato said. It would prove to be different from his predecessor Jiang Zemin's 1998 visit - the last time a top Chinese leader visited Japan - which Mr Sato said had caused 'certain worries' to Japanese people despite its overall significance. 'That visit proved a shock for the Japanese people,' he said. 'By excessively repeating historical issues, president Jiang triggered a worsening trend in the negative image of China held by the Japanese.' Japan's new Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, invited his Chinese counterpart to visit Japan when he chose Beijing as the destination for his first overseas visit in early October. The Japanese side repeated the invitation to Mr Hu a month later, when Mr Abe and Mr Hu met for the second time on the fringes of the Apec meeting in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi. The two top-level meetings in two months had significantly promoted bilateral ties and were widely regarded in Japan as a positive turn in the bilateral relationship, Mr Sato said. He cited a survey by one of Japan's major newspapers which showed that 82 per cent of those polled appreciated the meetings.