July 21, 2016 10:47
Koreans and Japanese are taking a more positive view of each other than in the past even as age-old resentments between their governments fester, a survey suggests. But the overall feeling is still negative on both sides.
The poll was released by the East Asia Institute in Korea and Genron NPO from Japan in a joint press conference Wednesday. It finds that some 21.3 percent of Koreans have a favorable impression of Japan, up from last year's 15.7 percent.
In Japan, some 29.1 percent have a positive impression of Koreans, up from 23.8 percent last year. But some 62.3 percent of Koreans and 50.9 percent of Japanese said current relations between the two countries are bad.
Lee Sook-jong of the EAI speculated that the improvement could be due to an uneasy recent thaw between the two governments.
Indeed, only 36.6 percent of Japanese now have a negative impression of Korean President Park Geun-hye, down from last year's 48.3 percent. But in Korea 79.4 percent have a negative impression of Japan’s far-right Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, similar to last year's 80.5 percent.
The younger, the better the mutual impression. Some 30.7 percent of Koreans between 20 and 29 have a favorable impression of Japan, compared to a mere 13.8 percent of those over 60.
In Japan 43.4 percent of people under 20 and 33.3 percent of those aged 20 to 29 have a positive impression of Korea, compared to 22.7 percent of those over 60.
Meanwhile, people on both sides of the water were united in fearing the worst for regional security if Republican nominee Donald Trump becomes U.S. president, with 60.9 percent of Japanese and 56.4 percent of Koreans.
The EAI and Genron NPO have conducted the poll annually since 2013.
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