Record percentage of Japanese have negative view of China: survey

September 10, 2014

BEIJING (Yonhap) — A record 93 percent of Japanese people view China negatively, while Japan’s image in the eyes of Chinese people has improved slightly, according to annual survey results reported Wednesday, amid an intensifying rivalry between the two largest economies in Asia.

The survey, jointly conducted by the state-run China Daily and Japanese think tank Genron NPO, showed that the percentage of Japanese who hold a “bad” or “relative bad” impression of China rose 2.9 percentage points from last year, marking the highest level since the survey began in 2005.

In contrast, 86.8 percent of Chinese hold similar feelings toward Japan this year, down some 6 percentage points from last year, the Chinese newspaper said.

Relations between China and Japan have never been good because of their shared history, but they have deteriorated further due to a simmering territorial dispute involving a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

In an editorial published Wednesday, the Chinese newspaper said the prospects for China-Japan relations are “worrisome,” citing the survey results.

In a rare conciliatory tone, the newspaper urged Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to hold a one-on-one meeting “to reverse the deteriorating relations.”

Xi and Abe have failed to formally hold a bilateral summit since they took office due to territorial and history-related tensions and it remains to be seen whether they will meet on the sidelines of an upcoming APEC summit in Beijing.

However, the newspaper said Abe must show Japan’s sincerity in improving relations with China.

“There is a need for a meeting between the leaders of both countries to reverse the deteriorating relations. But the ball is in Japan’s court,” the editorial said. “Abe needs to show Chinese leaders through his actual deeds that he is sincere about improving relations.”