A recent survey by a Japanese institution has shown that the share of South Koreans with a favorable impression of Japan stood at 44% — a record high for the second straight year.

The figure rose 4.1 percentage points from the previous year, thanks to improvements in Japan-South Korean ties, according to survey results announced by the Japan Press Research Institute on Saturday.

The survey, which was conducted in the United States, Britain, France, South Korea and Thailand between November and December last year, received responses from around 1,000 people per country.

Thailand, which at 91.1% had the highest proportion of people who had positive views of Japan, was followed by France at 81.5%, the U.S. at 80.4% and Britain at 71.1%.

Every year since 2015, the institution has conducted the survey in six countries, which had also included China until this year.

The institution asked a number of Chinese research organizations to conduct the survey, but were rebuffed, with the groups citing a reduction in operations or difficulty conducting a survey commissioned by a foreign organization.

This may have been due to stricter controls on such research imposed by the government of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, a Japan Press Research official said.