Majority of S. Koreans see Japan unfavorably amid soured ties: poll

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 15, 2020
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TOKYO, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- More than 70 percent of South Koreans see Japan unfavorably, leaping 21.7 percent from a year earlier, as a wartime labor row between the two countries has seen diplomatic relations sink to historic lows, a joint survey showed Thursday.

According to a poll conducted in September and October by Tokyo-based nonprofit think tank Genron NPO and the Seoul-based East Asia Institute, while 71.6 percent of South Koreans see Japan unfavorably, South Koreans having good feelings of Japan slumped by 19.4 points to 12.3 percent.

This figure is close to the record low of 12.2 percent booked in 2013, the annual survey which began in 2013 showed.

According to the latest poll, those who see bilateral relations as extremely poor or poor jumped 22.3 points from the previous year to a record-high of 88.4 percent.

Relations between Tokyo and Seoul have slumped to the worst level in years.

This is following a South Korean top court decision in October 2018 ordering a Japanese company to pay four men for forced labor during Japan's 1910-1945 period of brutal colonial rule on the Korean Peninsula.

Japan argues the ruling goes against a 1965 bilateral agreement under which it provided South Korea with financial aid with the understanding the compensation issue was settled "completely and finally."

Assets belonging to the company, Nippon Steel Corp., have been seized and are being put through a process to be liquidated, an outcome Tokyo has warned would do irreparable damage to relations with Seoul.

Japanese opinions on their South Korean counterparts, however, have improved from last year according to the poll, with 3.6 percent less people saying they have unfavorable feelings at 46.3 percent, with those having good feelings jumping to 25.9 percent, the data showed.

"It is said that 2019 was the worst year for the Japanese and South Korean governments. Their dispute over their views on history also spread to economic and security issues," Yasushi Kudo, head of Genron NPO said in a statement.

"While both governments have not been able to show any intent to improve the difficult situation, moves to boycott Japanese products and trips to Japan escalated among the South Korean public. On top of that, the novel coronavirus pandemic has virtually stopped bilateral exchanges," Kudo added.

Many South Koreans believe "Tokyo is not correctly reflecting on its past history of aggression to South Korea," while the majority of Japanese have a poor view of South Korea because it continues to criticize the country over its wartime history, the poll showed. Enditem

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