Japan More Unpopular Than Ever in Korea

      August 15, 2015 08:13

      Public opinion in Korea has worsened significantly over the last decade, and now more than half of Koreans have a negative opinion of Japan, a survey suggests.

      The findings come from a poll by the Chosun Ilbo and Seoul National University on various contemporary issues to mark the 70th anniversary of independence from Japanese rule.

      Only 13 percent said they have a favorable impression of Japan -- 0.5 percent very favorable and 12.5 percent slightly favorable.

      In a similar survey on the 60th anniversary in 2005, 26.8 percent of Koreans had a favorable impression of Japan. The proportion who said they have negative feelings about Japan rose from 43.7 percent to 55.4 percent over the same period.

      Japan has never been hugely popular here, but a Gallup poll in 2002, just after the Korea-Japan World Cup, showed a peak of 32.4 percent with a favorable opinion.

      The U.S., by contrast is getting more popular. Some 54.2 percent had a favorable impression of the U.S., up slightly from 53.7 percent 10 years ago. China's popularity is also plunging, from 39.3 percent a decade ago to just 23.1 percent.

      A majority also feel that Japan does not contribute significantly to peace on the Korean Peninsula and promoting reunification. Some 53.9 percent said Japan actually hinders stability on the peninsula, even more than North Korea's staunch ally China, which 42.1 percent see as an obstacle, and Russia at 37.9 percent.

      Most said the U.S. helps maintain stability on the peninsula with 51.5 percent, followed by China (19.5 percent) and Russia (10.6 percent). Japan rated a mere 9.2 percent.

      Some 57.5 percent see no need for President Park Geun-hye to seek a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is widely blamed for Tokyo's lurch to the far revisionist right, but 42.5 percent feel the leaders of the two neighbors should still meet.

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