November 26, 2012 11:51
The affection Japanese people feel for Koreans and Chinese is at an all-time low but their appreciation of Americans has grown apace. Their dislike of their Asian neighbors is apparently linked to recently rekindled territorial issues.
The Japanese Interior Ministry surveyed 1,838 people from Sept. 27 to Oct. 7 to gauge their feelings about foreign countries. Only 39.2 percent said they like Korea, a massive plunge from 62.2 percent last year. It was the first time since 1999 that a majority said they do not like Korea.
The affection Japanese felt toward Koreans had surged over the last few years due to the popularity of Korean music and TV dramas in Japan.
But anti-Korean sentiment, triggered by President Lee Myung-bak’s visit to Dokdo and call for an apology by the Japanese emperor for colonial atrocities, caused sentiment to chill to levels last seen a decade ago.
In fact, 78.8 percent of the respondents said Korea-Japan relations were “not good” compared to only 42.8 percent of the respondents last year.
The affinity Japanese felt toward China also fell to the lowest since 1978. A mere 18 percent said they like China, down 8.3 percentage points from last year. A whopping 92.8 percent of respondents said China-Japan relations are “not good,” a 16.5 percentage point increase since last year.
But affection toward the U.S. inched up 2.5 percentage points to 84.5 percent.
Japan has seen a proliferation of books sowing fear of a Chinese invasion or that Korea could attempt to "steal" its own Dokdo islets from Japan, which lays a flimsy claim to them. Some popular books forecast the impending collapse of the Korean and Chinese economies.
With a majority of Japanese educated with school textbooks that whitewash Japan's World War II atrocities, a growing number of people feel that Seoul and Beijing are being unreasonable in demanding apologies from Tokyo for the country's dark past.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com