Japan - China Survey Shows Gap In Sentiment

Japan-China survey shows gap in sentiment

An opinion poll conducted in both Japan and China has shown a gap in the way people in each place think about their neighboring country.

Japanese non-profit group Genron NPO and the China International Publishing Group conducted the joint survey in September and October. About 2,600 people in the two countries responded.

Results showed that 54.1 percent of respondents in Japan felt current bilateral ties are bad or relatively bad, while 22.6 percent in China described them this way. The figure was up 9.3 percentage points in Japan from a year earlier, but down by 13 percentage points in China.

Asked about their impression of the other country, 89.7 percent of Japanese respondents said they have an unfavorable or relatively unfavorable view of China, while 52.9 percent in China said the same of Japan.

The figure was up 5 percentage points in Japan from a year earlier, but about the same in China.

Asked about the importance of bilateral ties, 64.2 percent of Japanese respondents said they are important or relatively important. That's down 8.5 percentage points from a year before and below 70 percent for the first time since 2005. In China, 74.7 percent described relations as important or relatively important, up 7.7 percentage points.

Asked who is responsible for the current conflict between the United States and China, 54.8 percent in Japan said both countries, while a percentage of 86.2 in China blamed the US.

An official at Genron NPO said the survey indicates concern among Japanese about China's moves to assert its presence in the East and South China seas. The official said people in China may be rediscovering the importance of the relationship with Japan amid the conflict with the US.