China's achievements since its reform and opening-up are remarkable and will be remembered forever in human history, said Masahiro Kohara, professor at the University of Tokyo and former Japanese Consul-General in Shanghai.
Kohara still remembered vividly the Beijing he saw in 1981 when he was studying Chinese at Peking University. He was sent there shortly after he started working for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"At that time, people in Beijing were dressed in Zhongshan suits, or Chinese tunic suits, and went to work by bicycle," Kohara recalled.
In 2013, Kohara went to China again as Japanese Consul-General in Shanghai. He was impressed by the big changes happening all over the country at that time after decades of reform and opening up.
"Shanghai had become a cosmopolis by then. People were living with a lifestyle and standards that could hardly be imagined 40 years ago," he said.
Kohara's acclaim for China's achievements and changes was shared by Kiyoyuki Seguchi, research director of the Canon Institute for Global Studies in Tokyo and former chief of the Bank of Japan's Beijing bureau.
Seguchi was stationed in China twice, first in the early 1990s and then in 2006.
"When I came to Beijing again in 2006, the place where the farmland used to be in the 1990s had become a bustling central business district. It felt as if I had traveled through time to a different world," he said.
"It's true that in the past 40 years China has achieved an economic miracle that was unprecedented in human history," he added.
"China has always had a great potential for development," Kohara said.
Kohara still remembers how he travelled across China in "green trains," the old-style trains that were painted green and didn't have the speed as the express trains that people normally see nowadays.
"I felt at that time that a country with such a vast territory and rich natural resources must hold many promises. China had just started its reform and opening-up policy then and the Chinese people all had a strong drive to pursue a better life," he said.
Kohara also spoke highly of the economic polices adopted by China since then, including absorbing foreign knowledge, introducing foreign investments and technology and encouraging the people to "get rich."
"These are all very good policies," he said.
Seguchi, an expert on China, attributed the success of China's reform and opening-up to the stability of the Chinese government and the hard work of Chinese officials and people.
"The continued stability of the Chinese government is an important reason for the success of China's reform and opening-up," he said.
"Meanwhile, China has a large number of excellent officials who have been implementing the economic policies of the government in a proper and effective way. In addition, the Chinese people are very hard working and have many good qualities. These are also reasons for the success," he added.
The two experts both have high expectations for China's future development and hope that China can take further actions to eliminate poverty, reduce the gap between the rich and poor, and protect the environment.
According to Seguchi, China is now facing great opportunities for enhancing its medical-care system and protecting and improving the environment.
"The Chinese economy is very stable now and can fully absorb the short-term impacts of dealing with these problems" said Seguchi.