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Survey: Only 12% of people in China have a favorable view of Japan, and it’s worse in the other direction

Reuters/Issei Kato
Honoring Japan’s war dead—and provoking China’s public—at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo in August.
  • Steve Mollman
By Steve Mollman

Weekend editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Today China held a military parade in Beijing to celebrate its victory in World War II—or the “War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression,” as it is also known in China.

Relations between China and Japan have long been frosty, and a new Pew Research Center poll highlights how low sentiments still are.

Among Asian nations, China easily has the lowest percentage of people who hold favorable views of Japan:

And among the same nations, Japan has the lowest percentage of people with favorable views of China:

On Aug. 14, the day before the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, Japan’s prime minister only sort of apologized for the war crimes that his nation committed in China during the war:

Japan has repeatedly expressed feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apologies for its actions during the war… We must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with the war, be predestined to apologize.

Needless to say China did not react positively.

China has provoked Japan this year with its territorial assertiveness. Japan’s top naval officer warned in July that the entire South China Sea could fall under China’s military sphere of influence if it uses the artificial islands it has built there for military purposes.

Not all is gloomy regarding relations between the two nations, though. One bright spot is tourism. At a record 2.76 million, the number of Chinese travelers to Japan in the first seven months of 2015 has more than doubled (pdf) since the same period last year, according to the latest data from the Japan National Tourism Organization.

In fact many Beijing residents avoided today’s parade-related restrictions on their city—and took advantage of the three-day holiday—by traveling to Japan.

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