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The proportion of people in Japan with a negative perception of China came to 89.7%, an annual survey by Japanese and Chinese organizations showed Tuesday.

The share was up 5.0 percentage points from the previous year, rising for the first time in four years, according to the survey conducted by the groups including Japan’s Genron NPO.

Regarding the reasons, many of the respondents cited Chinese ships’ repeated intrusions into Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. China claims the Japanese-administered islands, which it calls Diaoyu. China’s actions that are inconsistent with international rules and its behavior in the South China Sea were also cited as reasons.

Yasushi Kudo, head of Genron NPO, speaks at a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday. | KYODO
Yasushi Kudo, head of Genron NPO, speaks at a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday. | KYODO

The survey did not include questions about responses to COVID-19 or the situation in Hong Kong.

The proportion of Japanese respondents who think their country’s relationship with China is important fell 8.5 points to 64.2%, slipping below 70% for the first time since the survey started in 2005.

Meanwhile, the proportion of Chinese respondents with negative impressions about Japan rose 0.2 point to 52.9%.

The share of Chinese people who said Japan-China relations are important rose 7.7 points to 74.7%. Apparently, escalating U.S.-China tensions were behind the increase.

When asked to identify a country that poses a military threat, 84.1% of Chinese respondents chose the United States. Japan came second, picked by 47.9%, although the figure was down 27.4 points year on year.

The survey was conducted between September and October, with participants of age 18 and over. Answers were provided by 1,000 people in Japan and 1,571 in China.

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