CHINA / National

Japanese blame Koizumi for chilly ties
(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-04-26 06:25

TOKYO: A majority of Japanese blame Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi for their country's deteriorating relations with neighbouring China, a newspaper poll showed yesterday.

About 72 per cent of those polled by the Yomiuri newspaper said the current state of relations between the two Asian economic powers is "severe," in light of there being no summit visits between the two countries since 2001, the year Koizumi took office.

Nearly 61 per cent said the icy relations were Koizumi's fault, mainly because of his visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni war shrine, which glorifies Japan's militaristic past.

Under Koizumi's tenure, ties between Japan and China have become their most strained in decades. Aside from the Yasukuni visit, China has also criticized Japan for textbooks that whitewash Japanese troops' atrocities in the 1930s and 1940s.

Koizumi's October 2005 visit to Yasukuni, which honours war criminals, sparked outrage in China, and Beijing has since said it won't hold a summit with Koizumi unless he halts them.

Koizumi has made one visit a year since coming to power and has refused to alter that policy.

According to the same Yomiuri poll, 54 per cent of those surveyed support Koizumi's policy of visiting Yasukuni, while 40 per cent oppose it.

The newspaper surveyed 3,000 eligible voters in face-to-face interviews at 250 sites countrywide from April 8-9. It provided no margin of error.