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Diaoyu Islands issue drives China-Japan enmity: survey

The impasse between Beijing and Tokyo over the Diaoyu Islands has badly hurt the attitude of both peoples toward their neighbor, with nine out of 10 saying they dislike the other nation, new survey results have indicated.

Results of the annual survey released on Wednesday are the worst in almost a decade since the China Daily and the Japanese non-profit think tank Genron NPO began jointly sponsoring the poll in 2005.

Despite this mutual aversion, 72 percent of Chinese and 74 percent of Japanese respondents see ties between the two nations as "important." Corresponding figures in Chinese and Japanese groups classed by the researchers as "intellectuals" reached 80 percent and 92 percent.

The findings show that 92.8 percent of Chinese surveyed hold a negative attitude toward Japan, 28 percentage points higher than last year. Similarly, 90.1 percent of "ordinary" Japanese have negative feelings toward China, in contrast to 84.3 percent last year.

The poll, conducted in June and July, quizzed 1,540 Chinese in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenyang and Xi'an, 200 members of the "social elite" from around the country and 802 university students and teachers at five top Beijing universities.

In Japan, 1,000 adults and 805 intellectuals, mostly with experience of China, were interviewed.

The attitudes of "intellectuals" in both nations are more moderate, with 52.8 percent of the Chinese group and 36.3 percent of the Japanese seeing each other in a positive way.

The biggest reason for the negative attitude is the Diaoyu Islands issue, with 53.2 percent of ordinary Japanese choosing it in a multiple-choice question asking for the rationale behind respondents' feelings. The number of Chinese dissatisfied over the issue has nearly doubled, from 39.8 percent last year to 77.6 percent this year.

The second major reason for Chinese dislike of Japan is that "Japan has not sincerely apologized for its aggression against China." That corresponds with the second reason for Japanese dislike of China: "Chinese criticism of Japan over historical issues."

When asked about Japan, the most common first thought among Chinese is now the Diaoyu Islands, overtaking "electronic products."

The most common answer among Japanese toward China is still Chinese food, although one-third chose tensions over the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands and nearly another third chose air pollution.

To solve the Diaoyu Islands issue, most Japanese chose negotiations and international arbitration. But a majority of the well-educated Japanese said the priority should be avoiding rash military conflicts, and almost half chose "putting aside disputes and seeking common development of the disputed area."

On the Chinese side, more than half of the respondents support "consolidating Chinese control (over the disputed area) to guard the territory," while the second-most-supported choice was "having Japan admit the existence of the territorial dispute through diplomatic efforts."

[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 07Aug13]

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