National

Interest in Japan-South Korea isle dispute on wane in Japan: poll

Kyodo

Public interest in the sovereignty dispute involving a tiny pair of Korean-controlled outcroppings Japan claims as the Takeshima Islands but South Korea calls Dokdo has fallen to 66.9 percent from 71.1 percent in June, a Cabinet Office survey said Thursday.

Meanwhile, a separate survey conducted by the office found 74.5 percent were interested in the Senkaku Islands dispute, almost flat from 73.7 percent in the previous survey in July last year. The islands are controlled by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan, which call them Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively.

The rows are straining Japan’s diplomatic ties with both countries.

“To resolve the issues, there needs to be support from the public,” a government official said. “We’d like to devise ways to promote public interest in the issues.”

Among roughly 30 percent of respondents in the Takeshima/Dokdo survey who said they were not interested in the issue, the largest proportion, 64.1 percent, said it did not very much affect their lives, up 9.2 points from last year.

In multiple response questions about the rocky outcroppings in the Sea of Japan, 35.7 percent said they had not had an opportunity to learn or think about the issue, while 20.5 percent said the issue was too difficult.

Of the 95.1 percent of respondents who said they knew about the islets, 77.0 percent recognized them as Japanese territory.

In the Senkaku survey, meanwhile, 92.3 percent said they knew about the uninhabited island group in the East China Sea. Of those, 79.6 percent said they knew Chinese vessels have repeatedly intruded into Japanese territorial waters around the islets, while 79.1 percent said they were aware of the Japanese government’s repeated protests to China over the intrusions.