SEOUL – Over 60 percent of South Koreans regard Japan as a military threat, according to a recent survey by Seoul-based think tank Asan Institute for Policy Studies.
In the public opinion poll on foreign relations conducted by the think tank, 62 percent said they feel militarily threatened by Japan.
Japan got only 2.66 on a 10-point scale of favorableness, slightly higher than the 2.43 points given to North Korea.
The survey results released Tuesday likely reflect soured ties over territorial and historical issues as well as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s eagerness to allow Japan to exercise its right to collective defense, the think tank said.
But the survey also found that 58.1 percent of the respondents think the two neighboring Asian nations need to hold a summit and that 60.4 percent want a bilateral pact to protect military secrets, suggesting a majority of South Koreans think it necessary to cooperate with Japan.
A thousand adults were surveyed between Sept. 2 and 4.
Political ties between the nations remain mired at their lowest point in years.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said Tuesday he sees “no light at the end of the tunnel” despite what he describes as President Park Geun-hye’s efforts to improve relations.