As Japan and South Korea mark 50 years since the normalization of postwar bilateral relations Monday, the anniversary is unlikely to yield much to celebrate.

Relations between the two Asian powerhouses are at possibly the lowest point since the end of the war. According to a May poll by the Yomiuri Shimbun, 73 percent of respondents said they "cannot trust" South Korea — a record high for the second year in a row. And the suspicion runs both ways, with 85 percent of South Koreans voicing mistrust of Japan.

At the core of today's mutual animosity are historical issues involving Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule. According to the Yomiuri poll, which was seeking opinion on Abe's upcoming war anniversary speech, some 76 percent of Japanese respondents believe repeated apologies by Japanese prime ministers for a variety of historical issues are "sufficient." This contrasts sharply with South Korea, where a mere 4 percent believe the apologies were enough.