Public view of China-Japan relations plunges: paper

TOKYO, Sept. 30 Kyodo

Only 17% of Chinese and 33 % of Japanese polled view relations between Japan and China as being in a good state — a significant decline from a 1988 poll, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Thursday.

The proportion of those viewing bilateral relations as being good dropped by 34 percentage points in China and 32 points in Japan compared with 1988 figures, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun-Gallup survey, the newspaper said.

The interview-style survey was conducted in late August in Japan, targeting 3,000 eligible voters of whom 1,942 responded, while in China, it was held from late July to late August in four cities, with 1,512 of people above the age of 18 responding.

Meanwhile, the percentage of Chinese who hold an unfavorable opinion of Japan rose to 50% from 38% in a 1995 survey, while the number of Japanese who hold an unfavorable opinion of China rose to 46% from 35%, the daily said.

Both figures rose by more than 10 points, reflecting the complexity of problems in bilateral relations, such as differences over how history should be interpreted, it said.

In the survey, 35% of Japanese said they hope China will give up harping on historical issues so as to improve bilateral ties, while nearly 60% of Chinese called for compensation for wartime suffering inflicted by Japan and for the Japanese government to apologize again.

In a question put only to the Chinese participants in the poll, three in four people said they did not know about Japan’s official development assistance to China, totaling 2 trillion yen over two decades.

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