Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Majority of Chinese see war with Japan

More than half of Chinese people think their country could go to war with Japan in the future, a new poll revealed on Wednesday, after two years of intense diplomatic squabbles.

A survey conducted in both nations found that 53.4 percent of Chinese envisage a future conflict, with more than a fifth of those saying it would happen “within a few years,” while 29 percent of Japanese can see military confrontation.

The findings come ahead of the second anniversary on Thursday of Japan’s nationalization of disputed islands in the East China Sea that have formed the focus of tensions between the Asian giants.

Underlining the lingering row over the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku Islands, four Chinese coast guard vessels sailed into their territorial waters on Wednesday morning. China regards them as its territory and calls them the Diaoyu Islands.

The survey was conducted by Japanese non-governmental organization Genron and the China Daily, a Chinese state-run newspaper, in July and August.

It questioned 1,000 Japanese aged 18 or older and 1,539 Chinese of the same age range in five cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenyang and Xian.

In the annual opinion poll which started in 2005, 93.0 percent of Japanese respondents said their impression of China was “unfavorable,” worsening from 90.1 percent last year and the highest level since the survey began.

The percentage of Chinese who have an unfavorable impression of Japan stood at 86.8 percent, an improvement on 92.8 percent last year.

“The most common reason for the unfavorable impression of China among the Japanese public was ‘China’s actions are incompatible with international rules’ at 55.1 percent,” Genron and the China Daily said in a joint statement.

That was closely followed by “China’s actions to secure resources, energy and food look selfish” at 52.8 percent.

The third most commonly-given reason was “criticism of Japan over historical issues” at 52.2 percent, while “continuous confrontation over the Senkaku islands” came fourth place at 50.4 percent, it said.

“On the other hand, ‘The Diaoyu/Senkaku islands’ [64.0 percent] and ‘historical understanding’ [59.6 percent] were the two prominent reasons for the unfavorable impression of Japan among the Chinese public,” it said.

Ties in decline
Despite a huge trade relationship and their deeply interwoven economies, relations between Tokyo and Beijing have seen several periods of deterioration over recent decades.

But ties have been particularly bad since late 2012 when Japan nationalized the Senkakus, a move it says was a mere administrative change, but which China says was a provocation.

Beijing regularly insists that Japan has not atoned enough for its imperialist past, and lambasts nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for an “incorrect” understanding of history and what it says is his intention to remilitarize.

For its part, Tokyo accuses Beijing of dwelling on the past for domestic political reasons and says that in the seven decades since World War II it has apologized repeatedly and trodden a pacifist path.

In an editorial, the China Daily described the poll as “worrying” and said for leaders in both countries “these findings should be concerning.” AFP

1 comment:

  1. Japanese sentiment toward China at worst level
    A record high 93 percent of Japanese have an unfavorable impression of China, up 2.9 percentage points from last year, as public sentiment here has deteriorated over Beijing’s maritime activities, a survey showed.
    On the other side, 86.8 percent of Chinese have an unfavorable impression of Japan, down 6 percentage points from a year earlier but still the second highest ratio since 2005, when Japanese think tank Genron NPO and the publisher of the English-language newspaper China Daily started the annual survey.
    The latest survey, conducted in July and August, received valid responses from 1,000 Japanese and 1,539 Chinese. The results were released on Sept. 9.
    Only 6.8 percent of the Japanese respondents said they have a favorable impression of China, down 2.8 percentage points from 2013, when the “unfavorable” ratio exceeded 90 percent for the first time.
    Asked why they had an unfavorable impression of China, 55.1 percent of Japanese respondents, the largest group, chose “China is not complying with international rules.”
    The second largest group, 52.8 percent, said “China is acting selfishly in developing natural resources.”
    Among Chinese respondents with an unfavorable view of Japan, the overwhelming majority cited Japan’s nationalization of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and perceptions of its wartime history.
    However, Chinese respondents with a favorable impression of Japan increased by 6.1 percentage points to 11.3 percent.
    This year’s survey for the first time asked if the respondents were concerned about the worsening public sentiment in Japan and China toward each other.
    More than 70 percent of both Japanese and Chinese respondents voiced concern and said the two countries need to take measures to improve the situation.