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Koizumi "not doing enough" to boost China ties-poll
Updated: 2005-04-26 19:59

More than half of Japanese voters feel Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is not doing enough to improve ties with China, which have deteriorated to their worst level in decades.

According to a public opinion poll conducted by Kyodo news agency on Monday and Tuesday to mark the fourth anniversary of Koizumi taking office, 55.6 percent of the more than 1,000 voters surveyed said the prime minister's efforts to mend ties "were not enough."

No further details were given, but a newspaper poll published on Monday showed that 48 percent of respondents said Koizumi should stop visiting Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, seen by many at home and abroad as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.

Koizumi and Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed to mend ruptured ties after a meeting at the weekend on the sidelines of an Asia-Africa summit in Jakarta, a move hailed by some Japanese officials as an important step forward.

Anti-Japanese demonstrations have recently erupted in many Chinese cities over a series of issues including a territorial row and anger over Japan's approval of a school textbook that critics say whitewashes Japan's actions during World War Two.

In further signs that voters may be unhappy with the general diplomatic policy of Koizumi's cabinet, currently bedevilled by friction with South Korea and Russia over territorial rows, 13.8 percent said they could expect "nothing" from his government on diplomacy, a rise from 6.3 percent in the previous March poll.

On other fronts, however, Koizumi did better.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they wanted Koizumi to stay in office until September 2006, when his term expires, against 33.6 percent who said they did not.

Asked if they rated Koizumi's cabinet favourably, 57.4 percent said they did, against 41.4 percent who said they did not.

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