The proportion of people who trust Japan is lowest in South Korea among six countries covered by a Japanese think tank survey released on Saturday.
According to the survey conducted by the Japan Press Research Institute from November to December last year, 13.0 percent of South Korean respondents said they trust Japan, down 5.1 percentage points from the previous survey carried out the year before. The share of South Koreans who have favorable opinions of their neighbor and rival fell 9.3 points to 22.7 percent, also the lowest level among the six countries.
The drops apparently reflect strained ties between Tokyo and Seoul over wartime labor and other issues.
The share of Chinese respondents who trust Japan, meanwhile, fell 6.7 points to 25.7 percent after rising in recent years.
The proportion was much higher in the other four countries, however, standing at 95.6 percent in Thailand, 79.5 percent in the United States, 76.6 percent in France and 63.0 percent in Britain.
Thailand had the largest share of respondents interested in news reports about Japan at 77.1 percent, followed by South Korea at 75.3 percent, up 11.9 points.
The spike in South Korea could be attributed to developments that have occurred since last summer. They include issues over wartime labor, Japan’s decision to tighten export controls on South Korea and Seoul’s temporary decision to scrap its military intelligence-sharing pact with Tokyo.
The proportion of respondents who know that the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be held this year was very high in South Korea and China, coming to 91.6 percent and 80.6 percent, respectively, but relatively low in the other four nations at 69.2 percent in France, 64.6 percent in Britain, 55.6 percent in the United States and 41.9 percent in Thailand.
Survey participants were asked for the first time if they have interest in Japan’s subculture, including anime, manga and cosplay. Of the respondents, 62.9 percent of Chinese expressed interest, the highest share among the six countries, followed by Thailand at 46.8 percent. The proportion stood between 20 percent and 30 percent in the United States, Britain and France, and at 18.4 percent in South Korea.
The research institute began the survey in 2015. The latest poll, the sixth of its kind, covered some 1,000 people in each of the six countries.