CHINA / National

Poll: Most Japanese say China not trustworthy
Updated: 2006-08-11 10:54

TOKYO - Almost two-thirds of Japanese say that China cannot be trusted, the highest level in almost two decades amid severe strains over a Tokyo war shrine that critics say glorifies militarism, a newspaper poll published Friday said.

A survey in the Yomiuri daily, Japan's largest newspaper, showed that 65.3 percent of the 1,867 respondents felt that China cannot be trusted.

Another 29.5 percent thought China could be trusted, while the remaining 5.2 percent were undecided, the poll showed.

The percentage of those who believed China was untrustworthy was the highest recorded in the six times the paper has polled on the question since 1988, the Yomiuri said.

The paper attributed the rise to China's harsh reactions to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni shrine, which honors World War II war criminals among Japan's war dead.

Critics in the two countries and elsewhere have denounced the shrine and Koizumi's visits to it as a glorification of Japanese imperialism and a sign of Japan's lack of contrition for its colonial aggression that led up to the war.

China and South Korea have refused to hold summit meetings with Koizumi over the visits.

Koizumi last visited the shrine in October last year, and he is widely expected to make his next pilgrimage on August 15, the anniversary of the end of World War II, before stepping down as prime minister in September.

The poll, which released no margin of error, also showed that 66.4 percent of respondents thought relations with China at present were bad. A marginally greater percentage also said they had a bad impression of China, it said.

Meanwhile, 27.1 percent of respondents felt relations were good, while a nearly equal percentage said they had a good impression of China, the poll showed. The poll said 6.5 percent of respondents were undecided in response to each question.