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11 Sep, 2014

Impact of Japan-China islands dispute fades but cloud remains

By ZHANG YUNBI in Beijing and CAI HONG in Tokyo

(chinadaily.com.cn), 2014-09-09 -Public opinion polls in both China and Japan revealed that the impact of the Diaoyu Islands dispute on bilateral ties is showing signs of moderating, yet pessimism about future ties continues.

The 10th Public Opinion on China-Japan Relations survey, co-sponsored annually by China Daily and Japanese nonprofit think tank Genron NPO, was released in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Although the majority of the general public on both sides continue to endorse the significance of the relationship between Asia’s two largest economies, “the portion of such people is shrinking to a record low on both sides” – 65 percent in China and 70.6 percent in Japan, the survey showed.

Japan’s image in the eyes of China “has slightly improved” in the past year, because Chinese people having a “bad” or “relatively bad” impression about Japan dropped by six percent, to 86.8 percent.

But the figure in Japan – representing Japanese public dislike of China – “hiked to a record high, 93 percent”, the survey said.

As for top topics regarding the relationship, air pollution has for the first time surpassed Chinese cuisine to attract most Japanese public attention – 41.2 percent, while the islands dispute was third.

In China, the Diaoyu Islands dispute was the top concern – according to 46.6 percent of interviewees – as it was last year.

Improvement in the relationship has been endorsed by 64.4 percent of the public in Japan and 63.4 percent in China.

The poll gathers responses from all sectors of society, and was conducted during July and August.

In China, the survey included 1,539 in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenyang and Xi’an, 201 of the social elite from around the country and 813 university students and teachers at five top Beijing universities.

In Japan, 1,000 adults and 628 intellectuals, mostly with experience of China, were interviewed.