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Most Japanese harbor negative feelings towards China: Survey – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: A recent survey has found that a mere fraction, less than 13%, of Japanese individuals harbor positive or “friendly feelings” towards China, marking the lowest sentiment recorded since the inception of the survey in 1978. This sentiment is echoed by 86.7% of the 3,000 participants who expressed negative views, largely attributed to China’s assertive actions in the South China Sea, Taiwan, and the Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, a South China Morning Post report said.
The survey, coupled with interviews by This Week in Asia, highlights a nuanced perspective among the Japanese populace. While there’s a clear distinction between their appreciation for Chinese culture, cuisine, history, and art, and their disapproval of the Beijing government and the Communist Party, the discontent is primarily directed towards the political actions and policies of Beijing.
Yoichi Shimada, a professor of international relations, notes that Japan’s geographical proximity to China and the territorial claims by Beijing intensify the distrust towards China in Japan. This sentiment is further aggravated when Beijing intensifies its rhetoric or military activities near Taiwan, fostering a sense of solidarity and support for Taiwan among the Japanese.
The sentiment is not just limited to geopolitical issues but extends to human rights concerns, with many Japanese disapproving of the treatment of Uygurs in Xinjiang, the erosion of democratic freedoms in Hong Kong, and the perceived bullying tactics of the Chinese military towards the Japanese Senkaku Islands, the SCMP report said.
Despite the prevailing negative sentiment towards the Chinese government and the Communist Party, there’s a clear distinction made by the Japanese people between the government and the Chinese populace, with many in Japan viewing the Chinese people as victims of their government’s policies.
The commercial sector in Japan mirrors this sentiment, with a significant number of Japanese companies either reducing their investments in China or relocating their operations to other countries, primarily due to rising costs, concerns over intellectual property theft, and the treatment of Japanese businesspeople in China.
While there are efforts by some Japanese politicians to mend ties with Beijing, the prevailing public sentiment and concerns about China’s growing influence and assertive policies make significant improvements in bilateral relations a challenging endeavor.

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