The annual opinion poll has been jointly conducted since 2005 when Japan-China relations were at their lowest level. The objective of the survey is to continuously monitor the state of mutual understanding, and perceptions of the Japanese and Chinese public toward each other, and how their responses would change over time.
The latest survey shows some improvement in the impressions of each other's country among Chinese and Japanese peoples," CIPG's Wang explained. The percentage of Japanese who had an "unfavorable" impression (including "relatively unfavorable") is still high but has decreased from the worst-ever finding of 93.0% last year to 88.8% while 78.3% of the Chinese respondents expressed an "unfavorable" impression of Japan, showing a major improvement from the year-before level of 86.8% and the worst-ever figure of 92.8% in 2013," he said. Wang also referred to a noticeable 10-percentage-point hike in the percentage of Chinese respondents who said that they had a favorable (including "relatively favorable") impression of Japan, from 11.3% last year to 21.4%.
However, Wang concluded his remarks by pointing out the 10-percentage-point surge in the percentage of Chinese respondents (from 59.6% last year to 70.5%) who cited "Japan's lack of apology over the history of its invasion of China" as a primary reason for their unfavorable impression of Japan. Moreover, over 70% of the Chinese respondents were not satisfied with the statement issued by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and some 60% said Japanese prime ministers should not visit Yasukuni Shrine, Wang cautioned.
Genron NPO President Kudo acknowledged that the latest poll shows Chinese who have an experience of direct interaction with Japan and Japanese people tend to have a better impression of Japan. Pointing out the findings that the percentage of Chinese respondents who have visited Japan surged significantly over the past year, as did the percentage of those who have Japanese friends, Kudo said that there would be a great chance of improvement in bilateral relations, if people-to-people exchanges between Japan and China would continuously grow.
The joint opinion poll has found that Japan and China feel the strongest military threat comes from each other's country. In particular, Chinese who perceive a threat from Japan outdid those who perceive a threat from the United States.
Kudo said, however, that the percentage of Chinese respondents who consider that both countries should seek to resolve their territorial dispute by peaceful means has grown more than 10 percentage points from 32.6% last year to 43.6% this year. He also said he is not pessimistic at all about future relations between Japan and China because the poll has found that the peoples of both countries share the identical view to the effect that the most important values that should be pursued for the future of East Asia are "peace" and "cooperative development."
⇒ Read the 11th Japan-China Joint Public Opinion Poll Analysis Report
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