The governor of Tokyo said he believed a rift-healing summit would take place between the leaders of China and Japan next month, as he touted the economic benefits Chinese tourists brought to his city. Yoichi Masuzoe, who this year became the first Tokyo governor to visit Beijing in 18 years, made the comments as Japan's government continued to lobby Beijing for a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi Jinping during the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum summit on November 10 and 11. While China's leadership has yet to respond to Abe's continued overtures, Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso briefly met Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli in Beijing on Wednesday to press the case for a leaders' summit next month. "I think we can make it in November," Masuzoe said in an interview with foreign journalists. "This is my observation because if the Chinese government decides to meet our prime minister, they can do that." Masuzoe also said it was easier for Abe to meet Xi than South Korean President Park Geun-hye. The Japanese premier has been trying to arrange a bilateral summit with Park to ease tensions but a dispute over wartime sexual slavery remains a key stumbling block. Mutual exchange between... people [from both countries]… is increasing Yoichi Masuzoe "This is the big difference between South Korea and China. Even if the president of South Korea says yes [to a meeting with Abe], the mass media is very influential in South Korea… But as far as China is concerned, if the top leader decides to meet in the forum, I hope and I think two top leaders can meet in Beijing," Masuzoe said. Park did meet Abe in March in the Netherlands, along with US President Barack Obama, but nothing substantial came of it. In late April, Beijing's government invited Masuzoe to the capital. The gesture was seen as an indication of Beijing's willingness to ease Sino-Japanese tensions arising from territorial disputes in the East China Sea. Masuzoe acknowledged that "problems" remained over the Senkaku islands - known as the Diaoyus in China - but expressed hope that economic cooperation would strengthen relations. "Economically speaking, many Chinese tourists are coming to Tokyo [and] buying things in Ginza, and mutual exchange between local communities and people [from both countries]… is increasing. So I hope bilateral relations will improve… steadily." New Japanese government data on foreign visitors showed that in September alone mainland China accounted for the largest number of visitors to Japan, up 57.6 per cent from a year earlier to 246,100. Taiwan ranked second and South Korea came third. The Japanese government aims to boost the number of foreign visitors to Japan to 20 million a year by the 2020 Olympic Games. Masuzoe, a former scholar of Chinese history who wrote a book on Sun Yat-sen, also mentioned that Tokyo has been keeping an eye on the development of the Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong. "We are observing very carefully what's happening in Hong Kong. Taiwan is also watching very carefully the outcome of this turmoil," he said. "But as [long] as the two big countries, China and Japan, cannot shake hands, the stability of East Asia will not be complete. We have mutual interest in enhancing our bilateral relations."