BEIJING, Oct. 7-- Only 31 per cent of Japanese feel friendly towards China, less than half the number that felt close to the United States, a survey said yesterday, showing the strained ties between the Asian neighbours.
Of the 2,418 people interviewed by Japan's Mainichi Shimbun, 31 per cent said they were very much or somewhat friendly towards China, while 68 per cent said they did not feel so. The survey conducted by the major daily, found that sentiment was particularly negative among the younger generation, with more than 70 per cent in their 20s to 40s saying they did not feel friendly towards China.
Those friendly to the US reached 65 per cent, overwhelming the 33 per cent with negative views about Japan's closest ally.
People who felt friendship towards the Republic of Korea(ROK) came to 44 per cent against 54 per cent who said otherwise.
The Mainichi Shimbun, which conducted the poll over September 2-4 across Japan, said Japanese sentiment towards China fell after the April rallies in China against Japan's approval of a controversial school history textbook.
The textbook, which whitewashes Japan's wartime atrocities, also ignited massive protests in other Asian countries victimized by the Japanese invasion in World War II, including ROK and China.
Disputes over history have become the crux of strained ties between China and Japan. Aside from the history textbook issue, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi repeatedly visited the Yasukuni Shrine, which honours 14 A-class war criminals alongside the Japanese war dead.
The two neighbours also have disputes over claims to undersea oil and gas deposits in the East China Sea.
According to a joint opinion poll conducted by China Daily, Peking University and Japanese think tank Genron NPO in August, 54.7 per cent of Chinese see current bilateral ties at a low point.
About 90 per cent of the Chinese polled blamed Japan for the situation, whereas more than half of Japanese polled said it was hard to tell who bore responsibility.
However, 65 per cent of Chinese respondents and more than 40 per cent of Japanese respondents of that poll believed economic ties between China and Japan are still on track and will benefit both sides. Of Chinese respondents, 59 per cent expressed the hope that China and Japan could better co-operate to manage regional affairs.
(Source: China Daily)