In a recent survey, nine out of 10 Japanese answered they don’t have a positive impression of China while 66.1 percent of Chinese expressed the same feeling toward Japan. It will be the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries next September but their sentiment toward each other has worsened since last year.
According to the Mainichi Shimbun on Thursday, Japanese non-profit organization Genron NPO and a Chinese group of international publishers conducted a survey of 1,000 Japanese and 1,547 Chinese aged 18 or over on the perception of each other from August 21 to September 25. The result was that 90.9 percent of Japanese respondents had a negative perception of China, which is 1.2 percentage points higher than that of last year. The figure was the highest in 2016 at 91.6 percent since the beginning of the survey and this was the first time it went over 90 percent in five years.
Among Chinese respondents, 66.1 percent had a negative perception of Japan, up 13.2 percentage points from the previous year. Anti-Japan sentiment was at its peak in 2013 at 90.1 percent when the two countries collided regarding the Senkaku Islands in Japanese or the Diaoyudao Islands in Chinese and had been on a consistent decline since then before surging this year. “The two countries have only made military threats while neglecting their people’s anxiety,” Genron NPO’s CEO Yasushi Kudo said at a press conference on Wednesday.
The negative perception of each other between Chinese and Japanese was more severe than the one between Korean and Japanese. In a similar survey conducted by Genron NPO and East Asia Institute in South Korea, the share of South Koreans who had a negative impression of Japan decreased from 71.6 percent last year to 63.2 percent this year. Meanwhile, Japanese anti-Korean sentiment only increased a bit from 46.3 percent to 48.8 percent during the same period. Japanese anti-China sentiment has been almost twice higher than their anti-Korean sentiment since 2015.