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Chinese, Japanese share belief on importance of ties

By ZHAO RUINAN | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-10-21 09:22
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Women wear kimonos in the street at the Senso-ji temple area in Tokyo, Japan, Aug 18, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

Public sentiment of Chinese and Japanese people toward Beijing-Tokyo relations remains generally stable compared with last year, with the public seeing bilateral ties as critical to regional peace and development, according to an annual survey released on Wednesday.

More than 70 percent of Chinese people regard the relationship as "important or comparatively important" in the 17th China-Japan Public Opinion Poll. Results of the poll were released by China International Publishing Group and Japanese think tank Genron NPO.

Similarly, 66.4 percent of Japanese respondents shared the same view as their Chinese counterparts.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, public perceptions of each side have been stable. More than 60 percent of surveyed Chinese people said their impression of Japan had no obvious change compared with 2020, as more than half of Japanese respondents kept the same views they had last year toward China.

According to the poll, the top reasons of surveyed Chinese people who hold a positive view toward Japan are that "Japanese products have good quality" and "Japanese society enjoys a higher level of civilization". Their Japanese counterparts are fond of Chinese history, culture and food, and enjoy a lot of people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

Gao Anming, vice-president and editor-in-chief of China International Publishing Group, said cooperation between China and Japan in the past decades has served the interests of the two sides and the two peoples, which is significant for regional and global peace and development.

As next year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japanese diplomatic ties, talks between the two countries' leaders earlier this month mapped out a new perspective for the development of bilateral ties, Gao said, citing phone calls between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Oct 8.

Coordination needed

In the phone conversation with Kishida, Xi called on the two countries to strengthen exchanges in coordination in economic policies, and jointly uphold a trade and investment environment that is open and fair in order to develop higher-quality win-win cooperation by leveraging each other's strengths for mutual benefits.

However, history and territorial issues continue to have a lingering negative impact. The poll showed 62.4 percent of Chinese respondents and 56.7 percent of Japanese respondents list territorial disputes as an obstacle in bilateral relations. Uncertainty in China-US ties is also a main force in creating negative feelings between Chinese and Japanese people.

Yasushi Kudo, president of Genron NPO, said the pandemic has disrupted face-to-face public-level exchanges of the two countries, though many online events had been held.

But he said people from both countries are looking forward to more exchanges and cooperation in future.

Gao said opportunities and challenges exist in Sino-Japanese relations amid the instability brought about by the pandemic, and he called for the two governments to promote all-level exchanges and cooperation.

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