Japanese feelings toward China at record low
Updated: 2005-12-25 14:01
The number of Japanese who have good feelings toward China has fallen to a
record low, according to a government survey, in an apparent reflection of the
icy diplomatic ties between the Asian neighbors.
In a Cabinet Office
poll released this weekend, only 32.4 percent of respondents said they had
friendly feelings toward China, down 5.2 points from last year's figure, also a
Minister Junichiro Koizumi delivers a speech during the annual councillors
meeting of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) in Tokyo, December
22, 2005. [Reuters]
The survey also showed that 71.2 percent of respondents believed that ties
with China were not good, the highest since 1986 when the government started
asking the question in the poll.
"Such a major drop in friendly feelings, or perhaps one can say a rise in
feelings of dislike, is not good for both countries," former Japanese foreign
minister Nobutaka Machimura told a television program on Sunday.
Relations with Beijing have soured after Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
took office in 2001 and began his annual visits to a Tokyo shrine for the war
dead which China, along with South Korea, see as a symbol of Japan's past
Despite repeated requests by Beijing and Seoul to stop the pilgrimages,
Koizumi visited the Yasukuni Shrine in October, triggering a further freeze in
The shrine honors convicted war criminals along with 2.5 million war dead and
the visits are regarded as an insult by Japan's neighbors. Many countries in the
region suffered during Japan's wartime occupation and feel that Japan has not
done enough to atone for its past.
China refused to hold a leaders' meeting with Japan at an Asian summit this
month, and a visit by the South Korean president, planned also in December, has
failed to happen.
While the poll was conducted prior to Koizumi's latest shrine visit,
respondents were likely to have taken into account a series
of anti-Japanese rallies in China in April, Japanese media said.
The survey also showed that the number of people who have positive feelings
about South Korea fell for the first time in four years to 51.1 percent, with
50.9 percent saying ties with the country were not in a good condition, up 16
In contrast to deteriorating sentiment toward its Asian neighbors, the poll
showed that 73.2 percent of Japanese felt good about the United States, up 1.4
points, and 80.9 percent considered ties with Washington were good, up 4.2
The poll was conducted in October by randomly picking 3,000 Japanese over 20,
with 58.5 percent of them responding.