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Some 79 percent of Japanese and 59 percent of Chinese people believe China will catch up with Japan economically within 30 years, according to the results of a survey conducted in both countries and released Sunday.

But 43 percent of Japanese and 67 percent of Chinese do not have a favorable opinion of each other’s countries.

Of the Japanese who did not have a favorable view of China, 35 percent said the increasing number of Chinese illegal immigrants and crimes involving Chinese is the main reason. That was the number one reason and is up from second place in a similar survey conducted five years ago. Twenty-eight percent of the Japanese surveyed had an unfavorable view due to what they considered as China’s anti-Japanese interpretation of history.

The survey was held prior to the 30th anniversary of the normalization of ties between the two countries and was conducted by a polling body comprised of Kyodo News and its member newspapers.

The survey from five years ago showed “one-party dictatorship” was the main reason Japanese had an unfavorable opinion of China.

Among Chinese respondents, 79 percent said they do not feel friendly toward Japan because it does not reflect on its aggression toward China and lacks an understanding of history. Seven percent said Japan is becoming nationalistic. Asked about the increasing number of crimes committed by Chinese, 49 percent of the Chinese respondents said they do not know about it.

On the issue of Japan’s prime minister paying tribute at the war-related Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, 54 percent of Japanese said the prime minister should visit the shrine, with 33 percent opposed. Among Chinese, 75 percent said a Japanese prime minister should not visit the shrine.

On the issue of Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province, 71 percent of Japanese said they want the situation to remain the same, while 70 percent of Chinese said Taiwan should be reunited with China.

Asked whether China poses a military threat to Japan, 36 percent of Japanese respondents said “yes” — down from 46 percent five years ago. This apparently reflects China’s missile test-launches into the waters around Taiwan in 1996 and the underground nuclear tests that were suspended that year.

Meanwhile, 77 percent of Japanese said the government should either decrease or stop official development assistance to China, up 10 percentage points from five years ago.

Although 33 percent of Chinese said ODA should remain the same, 50 percent said they think the funds should either be curbed or are unnecessary.

Asked whether they like Chinese people, 65 percent of Japanese said they had no particular feeling one way or the other, while 22 percent said they like the Chinese and 12 percent said they do not.

Among Chinese respondents, 42 percent said they dislike the Japanese, while 31 percent said they like them.

The survey was conducted by interviews in Japan and China prior to the 30th anniversary of the two country’s normalization of ties on Sept. 29.

The nationwide survey in Japan questioned 1,884 people over 20 years old on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, with both genders represented almost equally.

The survey in China covered 2,185 people, with both genders represented almost equally, in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang and Lanzhou on Aug. 17 and 18. The People’s University of China in Beijing conducted the survey in China.

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