Roughly eight out of 10 Japanese feel unfriendly toward Russia, according to results of a government survey conducted after Tokyo’s unsuccessful bid to settle a 70-year-old territorial row blocking the signing a peace treaty to end the war.
According to the results released Saturday of a Cabinet Office survey held from Oct. 27 to Nov. 6, a combined 76.9 percent of the respondents said they feel unfriendly or somewhat so toward Russia, down 2.4 points from a similar survey in January.
Asked to describe the status of Japan-Russia relations, 65.2 percent said “not good” or “really not good,” down 5.8 points from the poll in January.
The survey covered 3,000 people aged 18 and over, with 60.1 percent responding.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a summit in Japan earlier this month on future economic cooperation and the long-standing issue of the sovereignty over Russia-held Japan-claimed islands off Hokkaido. Abe and Putin also met in Peru in November and in Russia in May.
Despite the sustained diplomatic effort, Abe and Putin remained apart over the decades-old territorial dispute, which has prevented the two countries from concluding a peace treaty to formally end World War II.
Regarding China, 80.5 percent said they do not have friendly feelings toward it, down 2.7 points but topping the 80 percent line for the fifth straight time since 2012. Tokyo and Beijing remain at odds over the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, a group controlled by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan.
The poll said sentiment toward South Korea improved slightly because the ratio of respondents who do not feel friendly to it fell 5.6 points to 59.1 percent.
Toward the United States, 84.1 percent feel friendly, surpassing 80 percent for the sixth consecutive time since 2011, when the United States launched the disaster relief campaign Operation Tomodachi after the mega-quake and tsunami that ravaged northeast Japan, according to the poll.
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