Animosity against Korea runs high among Japanese

November 8, 2015

Korea’s negative image in Japan is attributed to the ongoing historical and territorial disputes.

By Kang Seung-woo

Nearly 60 percent of Japanese people said they hate Korea in a survey conducted last year and released Sunday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The national image of Korea is the worst in Japan among 14 other countries where citizens were interviewed as part of a survey conducted by Samjong KPMG and commissioned by the ministry.

It showed that only 14.3 percent of Japanese respondents hold positive views about Korea, the lowest among 14 countries.

It surveyed 5,600 people in 14 countries about Korea’s image between October and November 2014.

The 14 countries were Malaysia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Russia, the United States, Romania, Britain, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Japan.

The accounting and financial advisory firm attributed Korea’s negative image in Japan to the ongoing historical and territorial disputes.

“The results suggest that persistent rows over historical issues and the relevant anti-Korea campaigns by rightwing activists affected popular sentiment in Japan,” a company official said.

Seoul and Tokyo have locked horns over the issue of “comfort women” forced into prostitution in Japanese wartime military brothels.

The poll also asked about mutual antipathy between Korea, Japan and China and found that more than half of Japanese people hated the two neighboring nations.

According to the survey, 59.7 percent of Japanese people hate Korea and 77.7 percent hate China.

Japan and China are also in a territorial dispute over the tiny uninhabited Senkaku or Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea and Proime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet is also helping the U.S. to contain China’s influence across the Asia-Pacific region.

Disagreement on how to resolve the issue prevented President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from holding their first formal summit before they met last week in Seoul.

In addition, Japan’s sovereignty claim on Dokdo, Korea’s easternmost islets, has continued to deepen mutual animosity.

The survey did not study Korean people’s views of the two nations this time.

However, according to last year’s polls — the Global View of China and the BBC World Service Poll — Koreans’ negative views of China and Japan stood at 56 percent and 79 percent, respectively.

Chinese people’s negative view of Korea was only 9 percent, helped by the recent stronger Sino-Korea ties, in sharp contrast with its anti-Japan sentiment that registers at 41.7 percent.

In the wake of Japan’s strong antipathy to Korea, the survey proposed that the two nations establish a joint committee of government officials and scholars to resolve the pending thorny issues.

In addition, given that one third of Japanese respondents said that their anti-Korean sentiment resulted from Koreans’ antipathy or anti-Japan campaigns, the survey said that there need to be measures to deal with distorted and biased online information often triggering anger at Japan.

In the survey, Malaysia recorded the highest positive view of Korea among the polled countries with 72.7 percent, followed by China and Indonesia at 66.1 percent and 57.1 percent, respectively.

People in six countries including the Philippines, Thailand and Russia have more positive views than negative ones.

People holding positive views of Korea in the United States stood at 48.4 percent.


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  5. Chiu Kok-chiung

    November 10, 2015 at 2:23 AM

    I was shocked and disappointed in the widespread Japanese ignorance of
    historical facts thanks to the country’s rightwing advocates who have
    repeatedly – and shamelessly – tried to distort facts in Japanese text-books. They should all read about what the former German chancellor
    Willy Brandt did that has made Germany a great nation!
    The rightwingers still don’t know that their attempts to deny, distort
    or dodge facts will only bequeath Japan’s national shame to the future

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