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Survey: Mistrust High Between Japanese, Chinese Citizens

  • VOA News

Protests against Japan's decision to purchase the disputed islands take place in Shenzhen, China, September 16, 2012.

Protests against Japan's decision to purchase the disputed islands take place in Shenzhen, China, September 16, 2012.

While the relationship between the governments of China and Japan is increasingly frosty over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, the chill is also being felt among ordinary citizens, according to a recent survey.

According to the survey of 1,000 Japanese and 1,000 Chinese citizens in the last two months of 2012, two-thirds of the Chinese surveyed said they were boycotting Japanese products after the Japanese government purchased the controversial islands in September of last year. Seventy-nine percent of surveyed Chinese thought the Japanese government’s purchase of the islands was incomprehensible.

After Tokyo’s announcement of the purchase, anti-Japanese protests erupted across China, and 24 percent of the Chinese surveyed said they’d participated in them, but 74 percent said the protests went too far.

Tokyo annexed the eight-island chain it calls the Senkakus in 1895, and then re-acquired them from the United States in a post-WWII treaty. Beijing calls the island group Diaoyu, and claims it has been part of its territory since ancient times. Both capitals have ratcheted up rhetoric over the islands in recent months, and neither side has indicated willingness to compromise.

According to the survey, only 32 percent of Chinese respondents said Japan was trustworthy, while only five percent of the Japanese surveyed said China was trustworthy. Younger Chinese, those in their 20s, had a higher level of trust in Japan, with 40 percent saying Japan could be trusted.

The survey also revealed that more than 65 percent of both Chinese and Japanese respondents have no interest in visiting the others’ country.

Despite this, 71 percent of Chinese respondents said ties between the two countries need development, while 60 percent of Japanese thought so.

The survey also showed that 63 percent of the Chinese polled did not know Japan offered loans worth more than 3 trillion yen to China in the past.

The survey was carried out by Kyodo News with the help of research firms Searchina (Shanghai) Co., Tokyo-based Nippon Research Center Ltd.

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