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62% of South Koreans regard Japan as a military threat: think tank poll

JIJI, Kyodo

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.

  • phu

    South Korea is estimated to have a population of 50 million people. This survey included… “a thousand adults.”

    While it’s certainly not hard to imagine South Koreans having a dim view of Japan, thanks both to media demonization and the reality of Japan’s inane political circus, it’s maddening to read articles that treat such minuscule sample sizes as representative. Of course it’s impractical to survey the entire country, but this is laughable.

    Given that failure, it’s further prudent to suspect that the sampling method is unlikely to be top notch, and I do not believe this is a large enough sample — even assuming a good distribution — to avoid all manner of sample bias.

    These numbers are almost certainly worthless.

    • hudsonstewart

      I don’t think a sample size of 1000 is too small. As long as the samples were chosen randomly, it should be enough for an accurate representation.

      The problems are that 1) We don’t know if the samples were chosen randomly, and 2) We don’t know how the question was worded. If they used a sampling method that selected for people with more radical opinions (such as telephone surveys – who actually answers those these days?), then obviously the results will be skewed. Also, if they worded the question in a way that intentionally or unintentionally biased the answer, then the results won’t be accurate. It doesn’t matter how large the sample size is, if there are more fundamental problems like these then the survey is worthless. That’s why it’s so important when printing articles about surveys to actually print the methods. Otherwise, for all we know, the question was “Do you think the Japanese devils, who have become more and more militaristic recently and have been talking about modifying their constitution so that they could potentially attack us, pose a military threat to Korea?”

  • roppalfa

    to phu – couldn’t agree more…
    ..and consider how many Koreans have travelled to Japan in the last 25 years and how many Japanese have travelled to Korea…the point being that media and govts seem to constantly reinforce these notions when the reality is far different.

    • Hitokiri 1989

      Agree here. Despite the negative media coverage of Japan-Korea relations, Koreans still make up the largest group of foreigners to visit Japan. And that number has been consistent for a good number of years and includes periods where there have been historical flare ups

  • Mike Wyckoff

    Meanwhile, 100% of those responding were unaware that Japan doesn’t have the ability to invade Korea under the constitution.

    • render

      Don’t worry! Abe is seeing to that right as we speak. Officially recognizing their illegal armed forces, restoring the Emperor as the official head of state and granting their ‘defense’ (lol) forces the ability to preemptively strike anyone they ‘feel’ is about to attack. All these provisions are in the LDP’s draft constitutional changes. Now that they have ultimate control of both houses it’s only a matter of time before the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere will be achieved.

      • Mike Wyckoff

        What’s more threatening is what china CAN already do!