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Poll: Disdain Between China and Japan Is Mutual

A Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force plane flies over disputed islets, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and Diaoyu islands in China, in the East China Sea. (FILE)

The vast majority of Japanese — 93 percent — have an “unfavorable” impression of China, and the feeling is mutual, according to a public opinion poll conducted by Genron NPO and the China Daily newspaper.

The results on the Chinese side came in at 86.8 percent, which this week’s survey reported as a “slight improvement” from last year’s record high of 92.8 percent.


The majority of Chinese respondents pointed to the territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Islands, which the Japanese call the Senkaku Islands, while 55 percent of those polled in Japan said Beijing’s actions “are incompatible with international rules.”

As for war, over half — 53 percent — of the Chinese polled believe “there will be a military conflict” with Japan. The majority of Japanese expressed fear of a “conflict within a few years.”

Bad relations

More than 80 percent of the Japanese polled believed that Japan-China relations are “bad,” an increase from last year. And while 67 percent of Chinese asked believe the same, the survey said that represents a 20 percent drop, suggesting a slow tick upward in Chinese perceptions.

Pessimism for the future prevailed on both sides.

Thirty-seven percent of Japanese expect a downturn in bilateral relations. And nearly 50 percent of Chinese said the prospects for improvement are dim — up five percent.

Tensions between Japan and China flared in 2013 over the disputed islands in the East China Sea.

The survey of 1,000 Japanese was conducted from July 24 to August 10 and included men and women over the age of 18. Just over 1,500 men and women over 18 were sampled in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenyang and Xi’an during July14 to 25.

It is the 10th such poll by Genron NPO and the China Daily newspaper, which the authors say is designed to monitor perceptions of the Japanese and Chinese public toward each other, and whether or not there are changes over time.

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