71 per cent of Japanese consider ties with S. Korea 'bad'

JAPAN - A record 71 per cent of Japanese believe the state of Japan-South Korea relations is "bad," according to a joint survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun and The Korea Times.

The figure is up sharply from the 27 per cent who felt that way in the previous survey, conducted in 2011.

The drastic increase is attributed partly to then South Korean President Lee Myung Bak's visit last August to the Takeshima islets, which are called Dokdo in Korea, analysts said.

The telephone poll was taken March 22-24 following the inauguration of new governments in the two countries--the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe inaugurated in late December and the new South Korean government led by President Park Geun Hye established in late February.

On the Korean side, 78 per cent said bilateral relations were "bad," up from 64 per cent in the previous survey.

In response to a question whether the other country is trustworthy, a record 55 per cent of Japanese respondents--up from 37 per cent in the previous survey--selected "not very" or "not at all" while negative answers from the Korean side rose from 77 per cent to 80 per cent.

On Lee's visit to the Takeshima islets, 86 per cent of Japanese respondents considered it "inappropriate" while 67 per cent of their Korean counterparts regarded it as "appropriate."

In reply to a question about which bilateral issue should be solved with the highest priority (multiple answers were allowed), the Takeshima issue was chosen by 68 per cent in Japan and 72 per cent in South Korea, topping both lists of answers.

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