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Poll Shows Over 40% of Chinese Have a Favorable View of Japan
[2018.11.08]

The results of the Japan-China Annual Joint Opinion Poll 2018 show that the image of Japan among Chinese people has improved overall.

A 2018 poll found that Japan’s image has risen considerably among Chinese people. The Japan-China Annual Joint Opinion Poll was conducted in September by Genron NPO, an independent think tank based in Japan, and the China International Publishing Group. Chinese people with a “favorable” or “relatively favorable” image of Japan totaled 42.2%, more than 10 points higher than the 31.5% result in the previous year’s poll. Those answering “unfavorable” or “relatively unfavorable” came to 56.1%, around 10 points lower than the 66.8% in the 2017 poll.

Genron NPO noted that if the trend continues, the overall favorable rating in next year’s poll may exceed the unfavorable rating.

Among Chinese with a favorable impression of Japan, 51.6% pointed to the “remarkable growth of Japan’s economy and its high standard of living.” This was followed by 49.2% who noted “Japanese politeness, good manners, and high cultural standards,” although this was down markedly from the 61.8% who cited that reason in the 2017 poll.

Reasons for Favorable View of Japan among Chinese (Multiple responses allowed)

Reason 2018 2017
High economic growth and standard of living 51.6% 53.0%
Politeness, good manners, and high cultural standards 49.2% 61.8%
Beautiful environment, scenic landscapes, and many sights, including hot springs 45.3% 44.3%
High quality of products 44.0% 53.5%
Advanced technologies 25.0% 44.9%

Created by Nippon.com based on The Genron NPO’s analysis paper of the Japan-China Annual Joint Opinion Poll 2018.

Some of the factors underlying the better impression of Japan among Chinese include the improved relations and enhanced cooperation coinciding with the fortieth anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China; greater direct interaction, including the increased number of Chinese visitors to Japan; and a greater diversity of information sources, particularly accessed by younger people.

The president of Genron NPO, Kudo Yasushi, noted that the past year saw a major, overall improvement in the impression Chinese people have of Japan and bilateral relations, and that an optimistic view is now gaining strength as the confrontational mood slackens, including less emphasis among Chinese on the historical differences that have been a major obstacle to date.

The improving view of Japan among Chinese contrasts sharply with the unfavorable view of China that continues to hold sway in Japan. Compared to the previous year’s poll, there was no significant improvement in the impression Japanese have of China. Although there was a major decline this year in the pessimistic view of bilateral relations, the poll still found that 86.3% of respondents held an “unfavorable” view of China, barely improved over the 88.3% of the previous year’s poll.

The annual poll has been conducted 14 times to date, starting in 2005, when Japan-China relations were in crisis. The aim of the poll is to continuously gauge the state of and changes in mutual awareness and understanding between the two countries. The poll targets men and women 18 and older. On the Japan side, written questionnaires were submitted by 1,000 people nationwide; while in China, oral interviews were conducted with 1,548 people in 10 major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: Chinese tourists shopping in Ginza in February 2017. © Jiji.)

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