War? What war? Poll shows Asians view Japan more favourably than China

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 September, 2015, 5:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 September, 2015, 8:41am

Seventy years after the end of the second world war, Japan is viewed more favourably than China, India or South Korea by members of the public in the Asia-Pacific region.

A study by a US-based think tank, the Pew Research Centre, found that 71 per cent of respondents had a favourable view of Japan – compared to just 57 per cent for China.

Positive views of Japan outweighed the negative by more than five-to-one, it found.

The survey, published on Thursday, comes as China holds a huge military parade to celebrate the end of a war in which Japanese aggression in the region left millions dead.

The centre interviewed more than 15,000 people in 10 Asia-Pacific nations and the US from April 6 to May 27.

While impressions of Japan overall were favourable, the poll also reflected the long standing animosity between China and Japan, with 53 per cent of Chinese respondents saying they were “very unfavourable” towards the country.

Almost half of Japanese respondents were “very unfavourable” towards China, possibly due to territorial disputes.

At an Asia-Africa summit in April, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed “deep remorse” for Japan’s wartime aggression, but this was largely viewed as a watered down apology by China and South Korea.

“Both the Chinese and the South Koreans believe that Japan has not apologised sufficiently for its military actions in the 1930s and 1940s,” the Pew report said.

Only 18 per cent of Chinese said they had confidence in Abe, and 63 per cent of South Koreans said they had no confidence in him at all.