Japanese Feel Friendlier Toward Koreans Than Vice Versa

      January 02, 2009 11:15

      Most South Koreans feel unfriendly toward Japan with 62 percent, far outnumbering those who do, a poll finds. But 50 percent of Japanese feel friendly toward Koreans, as against 41 percent who do not.

      The figures are down from a poll conducted in the wake of the 2002 World Cup in the two countries, the proportion of Koreans who felt friendly toward Japan was 42 percent, and that of Japanese who felt friendly toward Koreans was 77 percent. That can probably be traced to recurring disagreements over Korea's Dokdo islets, which Japan is trying to claim.

      "Japanese who were less interested in Korea in the past were adversely affected in the past one or two years as the media touched on the issue much more often," said Prof. Lee Won-duk at Kookmin University. "Nonetheless, about half of the Japanese, influenced by the Korean Wave or Hallyu, feel friendly toward Korea." Experts forecast better Seoul-Tokyo relations because both Koreans and Japanese in their 20s and 30s feel more than 10 percentage points more friendly than toward each other than their counterparts in their 50s or older.

      Asked to name the greatest strengths of the people of the other country, Koreans named technology (29 percent), diligence (15 percent), law-abidingness (13 percent) and kindness (11 percent). The Japanese named strong will (29 percent), a fighting spirit (11 percent), diligence (10 percent) and etiquette (9 percent). Only 3 percent of Koreans said they did not know, but as many as 28 percent of Japanese respondents opted for the same answer, a sign that the interest of the Japanese in Korea is lower than the other way round.

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