Japan is changing prime ministers again, less than a year after the last time. But unlike previous reshuffles that have taken place almost every year in the past decade, this time China and the world are expecting more exciting changes when the Democratic Party of Japan assumes power next week. Many in China are looking for positive developments in Sino-Japanese relations under the new prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, and his DPJ. The party broke the almost 50-year unbroken reign of the Liberal Democratic Party in a landside electoral victory on August 30. Given its friendlier approach towards China and different attitude to official visits at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, the DPJ has already prompted goodwill in bilateral ties among many Chinese academics. Others are still wary that fundamental changes will be made in smoothing out the stumbling blocks. At a reception for a Japanese business delegation in Beijing on Wednesday, Premier Wen Jiabao said China was ready to work closely with Japan's new cabinet. 'China appreciates the active attitude of the DPJ leader towards the relationship with China and is ready to strengthen communication and co-operation with Japan's new cabinet,' Wen was quoted by Xinhua as saying. He is expected to meet Hatoyama when a three-way summit of China, Japan and South Korea takes place next month in Tianjin . Hatoyama and his party have received positive reviews from Chinese media since the election for their friendlier attitude towards Beijing. He has promised to stay away from the shrine, where convicted criminals from the second world war are honoured, and which China regards as offensive. Visiting the memorial has also angered many other Asian neighbours. Sino-Japanese relations soured badly when Junichiro Koizumi was Japanese prime minister, partly because of his insistence on visiting the monument. To Beijing's satisfaction, Hatoyama has also said China's rise would not pose a threat to the world. The appointment of Katsuya Okada, the DPJ's secretary general, as foreign minister, for example, saw Xinhua referring to him as a 'spokesman for China', a nickname he had earned in Japan for speaking for Beijing on some occasions. Hatoyama's wife, Miyuki, was born in Shanghai. A Xinhua profile highlighted Okada's opposition to Taiwanese independence and revisions to Japanese history books that whitewash wartime atrocities. Liu Jiangyong , a professor of international relations at Tsinghua University's Institute of International Studies, said Sino-Japanese relations would improve as the new cabinet would comprise people who were friendlier to China. 'They are more sincere towards China compared with the LDP, and they don't have the baggage of history,' he said. But there have been concerns that relations will not be free of friction, as the DPJ's position on border disputes, especially on the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, is less than friendly. Hatoyama is also said to have supported the Dalai Lama's activities. Beijing has accused the Nobel peace laureate of being a separatist who has been attempting to split Tibet from China. But Liu said these issues should not be used as an indicator of the strength of bilateral ties. 'Any party in Japan would oppose compromising their territory, because they are a Japanese political party. They won't handle the issue from China's perspective,' he said. Niu Zhongjun, an associate professor of international relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, said it would be premature to forecast drastic change. 'The DPJ is still under the influence of its former president, Ichiro Ozawa. Hatoyama is just like one of his tools,' Niu said. Ozawa was a former member of the LDP who defected from that party in 1993 amid factional infighting.