Japanese Feel Less Friendly Towards China
Sunday, December 19, 2004 Posted: 08:32 AM JST
Japanese friendship towards China fell to its lowest level in 30 years a Cabinet Office survey showed Saturday. Over the past year it fell 10.3 points to 37.6 percent. The previous low was 39.4 percent in 1996. Another neighbor however, saw a record high: 56.7 percent of Japanese say that they feel good about South Korea. It tops the previous record of 55.5 percent set last year. The high figure reflects the "South Korea boom" which was ignited after a South Korean drama series became extremely popular in Japan.
The sharp drop in friendly feelings towards Japan is being attributed to China's continued criticism of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. Soldiers who fought in Japan's wars, including Class A war criminals of WWII, are enshrined here. Another important factor appears to be the strong anti-Japanese sentiments Chinese displayed at the Asian Cup soccer tournament in August which even erupted into riots. Several Japanese exchange students were also attacked while in China.
The percentage of Japanese who perceive Japan-China relations as "good" showed an even greater decline, diving from 46.9 percent to 28.1 percent.
Feelings towards the United States hardly changed and continued to be high. Some 71.8 percent of respondents said they feel friendship towards the US, only slightly down by 4.0 points. Feelings of friendliness toward Russia decreased a similar percentage, from 20.0 percent to 16.3 percent.
In spite of the decreased friendliness towards China, a majority believes that Japan's economic future lies here instead of in Europe and the United States. When asked which area of economic cooperation Japan should put priority on, a majority said Northeast Asia, which includes China and South Korea.
The survey was conducted in October on 3,000 men and women aged 20 and above. Of the total, 68.9 percent responded.
Keywords: national_news diplomacy international relations
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