Data from a survey by the government released on Saturday showed that the percentage of Japanese who “do not feel friendly” toward Chinahas never been higher than recent times, with the percentage reaching an all-time high of 80.7 percent. This is a very obvious reflection of the strain in bilateral relations between Tokyo and Beijing, recently exacerbated when China announced an air defense zone that included disputed territories in the East China Sea.
The survey results publicized by the Cabinet Office showed that the ratio of people who do not have friendly feelings toward China was up to the highest level since the first such poll was conducted in 1978. The survey was conducted from Sept. 26 to Oct. 6, and at a time of frayed relations between Tokyo and Beijing triggered by the Japanese government’s purchase of three of the five main islands in the Senkaku Islands group from a Japanese private owner in September last year, which is also claimed by China as the Diaoyus. Asked on the state of the current relationship between Japan and China, 91 percent replied that bilateral ties are “not good” or “not particularly good.”
On the other hand, those who “do not feel friendly” toward South Korea were at 58 percent, while those with friendly feelings at 40.7 percent. These results are similar. The results regarding South Korea are similar to last year’s survey in which the percentage of those who had no friendly feelings toward Korea the exceeded the proportion of those who did. Japan has an ongoing territorial dispute with South Korea, claiming the Takeshima Islands, which Seoul controls and calls Dokdo.