Japanese Don't Trust Korea, China

The Japanese distrust their Asian neighbors, according to a survey, suggesting that regional tensions are filtering down to the populations.

In a Gallup poll of Americans and Japanese, 72 percent of the Japanese said they do not trust South Korea while only 15 percent trust it, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Monday.

But more American respondents (57 percent) trust South Korea than those who do not (41 percent). Both Japanese and Americans trust South Korea more than China.

A whopping 88 percent of Japanese respondents said they do not trust China, compared to 66 percent of American respondents. Some 32 percent of Americans said they trust China as against a mere 5 percent of Japanese.

Most Japanese regarded China as a military threat at 78 percent, followed by North Korea (74 percent), South Korea (45 percent), and Russia (40 percent). This was the first time since the poll was launched in 2000 that the Japanese considered South Korea a greater military threat than Russia.

In 2006, a mere 20 percent of the Japanese respondents regarded South Korea as a military threat. The new trend may be attributable to deepening conflict between the two countries over historical and territorial issues.

Among Americans, the Middle East was seen as the biggest threat with 75 percent, followed by North Korea (66 percent) and China (62 percent).

But a record proportion of Japanese respondents believe U.S.-Japan relations are good at 55 percent.

The Yomiuri said Japanese people have come to have increasingly negative view of China and South Korea as they see intensifying tensions over the Senkaku islands and Dokdo islets and some historical matters.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 17, 2013 12:11 KST