90 percent of Japanese, Chinese view each other negatively, poll finds

August 06, 2013

By TAKUYA HIRAGA/ Staff Writer

Public sentiment in Japan and China toward each other has deteriorated to one of the worst levels over the Senkaku Islands dispute and differences in historical perceptions, a survey found on Aug. 5.

More than 90 percent of Japanese and Chinese have an unfavorable impression of each other’s country, according to a survey by Japanese think tank Genron NPO and the publisher of the English-language newspaper China Daily.

It was the first time that the figures exceeded 90 percent since the annual survey started in 2005.

The poll, conducted in June and July, received valid responses from 1,000 Japanese and 1,540 Chinese.

A combined 90.1 percent of Japanese respondents said they have either an “unfavorable” or “relatively unfavorable” impression of China, compared with 84.3 percent in 2012.

The percentage of Chinese who have either an “unfavorable” or “relatively unfavorable” impression of Japan has sharply increased to 92.8 percent, up from 64.5 percent in 2012.

Asked to cite reasons for their unfavorable impression of China, 53.2 percent of Japanese respondents, the largest group, chose “a conflict continues over the Senkaku Islands,” a group of five uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that are administered by Japan but are claimed by China.

Among Chinese respondents, 77.6 percent, the largest group, chose “Japan caused a territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands and has taken a strong attitude.”

It was followed by 63.8 percent for “Japan has not fully apologized for and reflected on the history of aggression.”

In a separate question, 62.7 percent of Chinese respondents said the Japanese prime minister should not visit Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Class-A war criminals along with the nation’s war dead, “either in an official or private capacity.” The figure rose sharply from 43.1 percent in 2012.

Yasushi Kudo, head of Genron NPO, calls Japan’s worsening image among Chinese “a dangerous situation.”

“In China, the impression of Japan has deteriorated completely, with the confrontation over the Senkakus combined with the issue of perceptions of history,” he said. “First, the two governments must work to improve relations.”

By TAKUYA HIRAGA/ Staff Writer
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Japanese students, left, and their Chinese counterparts discuss their school lives during an exchange event at Waseda Saga Junior and Senior High School in Karatsu, Saga Prefecture, in February. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Japanese students, left, and their Chinese counterparts discuss their school lives during an exchange event at Waseda Saga Junior and Senior High School in Karatsu, Saga Prefecture, in February. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • Japanese students, left, and their Chinese counterparts discuss their school lives during an exchange event at Waseda Saga Junior and Senior High School in Karatsu, Saga Prefecture, in February. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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