Koizumi blamed for icy China ties: poll
Updated: 2006-04-25 10:58
TOKYO -- A majority of Japanese blame Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
for their country's deteriorating relations with neighboring China, a newspaper
poll showed Tuesday.
percent 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
Minister Junichiro Koizumi arrives at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo in
this October 17, 2005 photo. [AP]
Nearly 61 percent said the icy relations were Koizumi's
fault, mainly because of his visits to Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni war
shrine, which China and other Asian nations revile as glorifying Japan's
Under Koizumi's tenure, ties between Japan and China
have become their most strained in decades. Aside from the Yasukuni visit, the
two countries have squabbled over Japanese text books that critics say whitewash
World War II atrocities. The countries are also locked in a standoff over gas
fields in the East China Sea.
Last year, anti-Japanese riots erupted in
several Chinese cities, with protesters attacking Japanese interests there.
Koizumi's October 2005 visit to Yasukuni, which honors 2.5 million war
dead, including executed war criminals, sparked further outrage in China, and
the government in 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, only 54 percent of those surveyed support Koizumi's policy of
visiting Yasukuni, while 40 percent 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.