Japanese and Chinese differ on diplomatic ties

by Jun Hongo

More than 80 percent of Chinese are optimistic about future ties with Japan, while only 32 percent of Japanese feel likewise, a bilateral survey released Monday shows.

On other matters, 95 percent of the survey’s Japanese respondents cited worries over the safety of food imported from China.

The fourth annual study, conducted by Japanese nonprofit organization Genron NPO and the China Daily, covered 1,000 Japanese and 1,557 Chinese, all over 18 years old, between June and July.

“The survey had contrasting results. The Chinese feel bilateral ties are becoming stable, while food safety has hugely influenced” the Japanese view of China, Yasushi Kudo of Genron NPO told a news conference in Tokyo.

China’s image suffered when pesticide-tainted frozen “gyoza” dumplings from the country caused multiple food poisonings in Japan.

Japanese pollees said they are wary of Chinese products, with 46.2 percent citing a lack of safety as “an obstacle in developing bilateral ties,” and 80.6 percent of Japanese who said they do not want to visit China mentioned safety and hygiene issues.

Just 38.8 percent of the Chinese respondents said they have similar concerns over products made in their country.

Meanwhile, 54.3 percent of the Chinese felt Japan and China are enjoying amicable relations, compared with 24.9 percent last year.

Only 13 percent of the Japanese felt likewise in this year’s survey.

The May summits between Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and President Hu Jintao helped improve bilateral ties, according to 79 percent of the Chinese surveyed. Only 21.5 percent of the Japanese agreed.

Historical differences remained evident in the survey. Only 4.5 percent of the Chinese approve of Japanese politicians visiting Yasukuni Shrine, compared with 37.2 percent of the Japanese respondents.