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Improved Japan ties gain strong backing

By ZHANG YUNBI | China Daily | Updated: 2022-12-01 07:30
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Crowds in Tokyo. [Photo/VCG]

Most Chinese want relations further boosted to aid stability, survey finds

Around two-thirds of Chinese respondents to a survey believe that China and Japan should "build a stronger new type of cooperative relationship" in order to promote peace and stability.

The results of the annual poll on China-Japan relations, conducted by the China International Publishing Group and Japanese think tank Genron NPO, were released in Beijing and Tokyo on Wednesday.

The survey showed that 78.3 percent of Chinese respondents support cooperation with Japan and on Asian affairs more broadly.

"Peace", "cooperation and development" and "equality" emerged as the three most popular concepts that Chinese respondents believe both countries should advance together.

Gao Anming, vice-president and editor-in-chief of the China International Publishing Group, said that the Chinese respondents want both countries to work together in regional affairs in multiple areas and hope that they will strengthen cooperation to deal with global issues.

"When it comes to East Asia, avoiding disputes and maintaining lasting peace in Northeast Asia, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and China-Japan maritime and air crisis management are among the top concerns of Chinese respondents," he said.

He noted that among global issues, Chinese respondents pay more attention to the response to outbreaks of infectious diseases, climate change and wealth disparities.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan.

In the poll, the Chinese respondents indicate they believe that the development of the overall bilateral relations over the past 50 years "has not met expectations".

Chinese respondents' overall perception of Japan remains stable, and 71.3 percent of them believe that the bilateral relationship is "important" or "relatively important".

Historical and territorial issues continue to affect Chinese respondents' perceptions of the relations, and the Japan-US alliance has a negative impact on the ties, according to the survey.

"The Asia-Pacific region is the most dynamic region in the world economy and is regarded as the engine and growth point of the world economy. China and Japan are close neighbors, and building a good-neighborly relationship can ensure the region's peace, stability and prosperity," said Lyu Yaodong, a veteran research fellow on Japanese diplomatic policy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Japan Studies.

Learning from history

"It is key for both countries to learn from history, build on their original aspirations made 50 years ago, ensure the ties' proper development, and strive to build a constructive and stable China-Japan relationship that echoes the new era," he said.

According to the survey, Chinese respondents reaffirmed the importance of people-to-people exchanges in improving relations.

The three most popular types of nongovernmental exchanges are "communication among scholars and researchers", "communication between media" and "talent exchange between businesses".

On the economic front, those responding to the poll recognize the achievements made under the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries over the past 50 years, the survey's report said.

Last year, 75.4 percent of Chinese respondents to the poll believed that economic cooperation with Japan is still important to China's future, and the number this year rose to 77.4 percent.

Given the pressures on global free trade, Chinese respondents support securing the world's free trade system, and they are ready to see China and Japan carry out economic cooperation to deal with the unfavorable international trade environment.

On China-Japan economic cooperation, the proportion of Chinese respondents who see "strong complementarity and win-win cooperation" is 75.2 percent, up from 71.6 percent last year.

"The two countries should strengthen their economic and trade cooperation and identify new areas for cooperation amid the current global economic downturn," Lyu said. "They can gear up teamwork and boost efficacy in areas of common interests such as the low-carbon economy and healthcare.

"As the second- and third-largest economies, the two countries should inject impetus into the recovery of the world economy."

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