China, Japan survey reveals positive attitudes

Updated: 2011-12-23 08:46

By Li Xiaokun and Zheng Yangpeng (China Daily)

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Optimism over ties, often described as strained, prevails, Li Xiaokun and Zheng Yangpeng report in Beijing.

The findings of a recent survey seem to be at odds with the commonly held belief that the relationship between China and Japan is, traditionally, strained.

The survey showed a majority of well-educated respondents in both countries have had a positive attitude toward each other in the past seven years.

Their views, based on a relatively deep understanding of the other culture, represent the most rational outlook by members of a neighboring country, the survey said.

The survey results were released on the eve of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's visit to China, starting on Dec 25.

The report on China-Japan relations is based on figures from annual polls done in the past seven years.

Sponsored by China Daily and the Japanese nonprofit think tank Genron NPO, the polls, which had responses from all sections of society, were done at the same time, annually, in both countries.

This year, the poll included 1,540 Chinese in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenyang and Xi'an, as well as 1,000 university students, studying for either a master's or a doctoral degree, and young teachers at five top Beijing universities.

In Japan 1,000 adults and 500 intellectuals with experience of China or Chinese people were interviewed. Seventy percent of the intellectuals had a bachelor's degree while 22 percent held a master's.

The results showed that among the ordinary people polled, both in China and Japan, a bigger percentage seemed to harbor negative attitudes toward the other country throughout the past seven years.

Chinese people's enmity toward Japan peaked in 2005, 2009 and 2011, likely linked to the visits of then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan's war dead including Class-A war criminals, and the territorial disputes on Diaoyu Islands, said the report.

The Japanese public's negative attitude toward China has been ascending and peaked in 2011, after a collision between a Chinese trawler and Japanese coast guard vessels near the Diaoyu Islands in September 2010.

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