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Poll reveals gloom over China-Japan ties

By Li Xiaokun | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-08 07:12

Ordinary people pessimistic about economic relations between nations

Ordinary people in China and Japan are pessimistic about future economic cooperation between the two countries as bilateral relations worsen, a recent survey has found.

The pessimism is in sharp contrast to the mood over the past decade when business ties were largely immune to the twists and turns of diplomacy.

Poll reveals gloom over China-Japan ties
Poll reveals gloom over China-Japan ties
Poll reveals gloom over China-Japan ties

The results of the annual survey, released by China Daily on Wednesday, found that 40.1 percent of ordinary Japanese people believe bilateral ties will experience a downturn both politically and economically, surpassing the 32.1 percent who expect business relations to be good despite strained political ties.

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After reading the reports and comments, I found most of the media concentrated on the point that "90 percent of citizens from each side share a negative impression of the other country."

Poll reveals gloom over China-Japan ties Tensions with Beijing rooted in Tokyo's politics

The strained China-Japan relationship is the most telling witness to how Japan's diplomatic policies have been held hostage by its domestic politics.

The poll in China revealed similar results. "A slump in business cooperation amid freezing political relations, if realized, will hurt the economies of both sides," said Liu Xiaofeng, an expert on Japanese studies with Tsinghua University.

Forum: What do you think of China-Japan relations?

"The United States, the European Union and Russia are all trying to integrate all kinds of powers in their regions. Beijing and Tokyo should not just let it go ... Leaders of both countries should seek solutions," he said.

Another eye-catching finding is that only 19.8 percent of the Japanese believe "the two economies are highly complementary and can achieve win-win cooperation" - less than half of the 43.4 percent supporting the idea last year.

Meanwhile, 42.8 percent in the survey group feel "the two economies are increasingly competitive and cannot achieve win-win cooperation."

The figures show that a pessimistic attitude to business relations is now dominant in Japan.

Chinese scholars have previously noted that Japan was shocked when China surpassed it in terms of GDP in 2010, with the psychological impact exaggerated and extended to many other areas.

"The findings reflect a characteristic of the Japanese people, that as island residents they are more sensitive to changes, such as the climate of cool relations between China and Japan. Besides, it's easier for the Japanese to form a united idea than the Chinese," said Liu.

Yang Ting contributed to this story.

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