The number of Japanese who feel unfriendly toward China and South Korea has surged to an all-time high, a Cabinet Office survey showed Saturday, reflecting the continued fallout of territorial clashes and deep divisions over wartime history.
The ratio of people who declared themselves hostile toward China rose to an alarming 83.1 percent, up 2.4 percentage points from the previous survey in November 2013, while the same tally regarding South Korea jumped 8.4 points to 66.4 percent, according to the findings.
The ratio is at its highest level since the Cabinet Office carried out the first survey in 1978. The latest survey was conducted from Oct. 16 to 26.
Amid ice-cold diplomatic relations, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was only able to hold his first formal talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last month, after nearly two years in office, and his offers of bilateral talks have so far been dismissed by South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
Meanwhile, those pronouncing themselves “friendly” toward China slipped 3.3 points to a paltry 14.8 percent. The figure came to 31.5 percent in South Korea’s case, a substantial dip of 9.2 points.
Asked about the current state of Sino-Japanese ties, 84.5 percent responded that the relationship is “not good,” or “not particularly good.” Only 5.3 percent said ties with China are “somewhat good” or “good.”
As for South Korea, some 77.2 percent of the respondents said bilateral relations are “not good,” or “not particularly good.”
Tensions between Japan and South Korea have soared due to a sovereignty dispute over a pair of South Korea-controlled islets, the Japanese military’s coercion of women for its wartime network of brothels, and the indictment in October of a Japanese reporter in South Korea on charges of slandering Park, among other issues.
Meanwhile, the poll also showed that the number of Japanese who feel friendly toward the United States remained strong at 82.6 percent, a slight decline from the 83.1 percent seen in the previous survey.
On North Korea, 88.3 percent of the respondents declared an interest in Pyongyang’s abductions of Japanese nationals, followed by 55.6 percent who voiced interest in Pyongyang’s missile development, and 54.0 percent who are following the North’s nuclear armament drive. Multiple replies were allowed.
The survey covered 3,000 adults, of whom 60 percent provided valid responses. No margin of error was given.