More than 80 percent of Chinese and South Korean respondents in a survey made by Japan's Kyodo News Agency and released on June 19 are opposed to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo as well as to Japan's bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
The survey also shows a deterioration in sentiment of Chinese and South Korean people toward Japan, with 83 percent of respondents in China, up from 67 percent in a 2002 survey, and 75 percent of those in South Korea, up from 69 percent in the same year, saying they do not have a favorable opinion of Japan.
The worsening sentiment apparently reflects Japan's cooling relations with China and South Korea due to Koizumi's repeated visits to the notorious Shinto shrine, territorial disputes, and disputes over Japanese history textbooks, Kyodo said.
The survey was conducted in May in China, Japan and South Korea on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, with 1,000 people each in China and Japan responding and 1,051 in South Korea replying.
On the issue of Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine, 86 percent of the Chinese respondents and 82 percent of the South Koreans said Koizumi should not visit the shrine, which honors 14 Class-A war criminals responsible for Japan's aggression war against its neighboring Asian nations.
In Japan, 41 percent of the respondents said Koizumi should not visit Yasukuni while 31 percent supporting the premier's shrine visits.
Asked about Japan's aspiration to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, 87 percent in China and 85 percent in South Korea said they are against the bid, with only 7 percent and 8 percent, respectively, supporting it.
In Japan, 67 percent of the respondents said they support the bid, and 20 percent said they are against it.
Asked about future relations between Japan and China, 22 percent of the Japanese respondents said they will improve, compared with 21 percent saying they do not think so.
In China, 39 percent of the respondents said they do not think the relationship between the two nations will improve, against 30 percent who think it will.
On future ties between Japan and South Korea, 43 percent of the Japanese respondents said bilateral relations will get better, but 48 percent in South Korea felt the relationship will not develop in such a direction.
The survey indicates that Chinese and South Korea people think issues of history will hinder better ties with Japan, with 57 percent of the South Korean respondents saying matters concerning Japan's perception of history need to be resolved for a better bilateral relationship.
In China, 42 percent of the respondents said Japan's compensation and apology for its past acts are essential to improving bilateral ties.
Many Asian countries, particularly China and South Korea, suffered from Japanese aggression before and during World War II. They strongly opposed Japanese leaders' visit to the Tokyo-base Yasukuni Shrine.
Koizumi has visited the notorious Shinto shrine, which honors 14 Class-A war criminals responsible for Japan's aggression war against its Asian neighbors, once a year since taking office in April 2001.
Last month, the premier indicated a plan at a parliament meeting to again visit the shrine sometime this year.