Japan public opinion of China hits 7-year low


TOKYO–The Japanese public’s impression of China has worsened over the last year, according to the results of a joint China-Japan survey released Wednesday, hitting a seven-year low.

Up to 84 percent of Japanese people surveyed said they had a bad impression of Chinese people, a 6 percent increase compared to a year earlier, showed the survey, which was conducted by Genron, a Japanese nonprofit organization, and the Chinese newspaper China Daily to see how each side views the other.

On the other hand, 64.5 percent of Chinese responded they had a bad impression of Japan, which was a 5.4 percent decline compared to last year’s figure.

A total of 54.4 percent of Japanese pollees said China’s selfish attitude toward obtaining energy and resources was the main reason they had an unfavorable opinion of China, while 44 percent cited the Diaoyu Islands sovereignty issue.

Moreover, 34.8 percent of Japanese cited China’s nontransparent military expansion as the main cause for their bad impression, compared to last year’s 23.9 percent.

China’s public on the other hand cited different interpretations of history as the major cause, with 78.6 percent noting past wars were the main cause for their negative impression, while 39.8 percent said Japanese government’s strong stance in dealing with the Diaoyu Islands sovereignty issue was the main cause.

When asked what was the main obstacle between the two countries developing closer ties, 69.5 percent of Japanese said it was the Diaoyu Islands issue, with 51 percent of Chinese agreeing this was the main issue.

Taiwan, China, and Japan all claim sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

This year, the survey also introduced a question asking whether respondents expected conflicts to break out between the two countries over the East China Sea issue. A total of 38 percent of Japanese expected no conflicts, but 36.9 percent of Chinese thought future conflicts could occur.

The survey in Japan was conducted between April 26-May 14 among men and women above the age of 18. Genron retrieved 1,000 valid responses.

The Chinese survey retrieved a total of 1,627 valid responses from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenyang and Xian.

The annual survey has been conducted since 2005.