(Asahi: October 21, 2015—p. 13)
Many of South Korea’s people think that their country’s relationship with China is more important than its relationship with Japan, according to findings from a joint public opinion survey conducted in Japan, the United States, China, and South Korea. In China as well, a total of nearly 60% answered “yes” when asked whether they think South Korea is trustworthy, indicating how close to each other China and South Korea are. In Japan, however, the proportion of those thinking China and South Korea are trustworthy was less than 20%. The survey results clearly showed a gulf between the Japanese public’s feelings and the Chinese and South Korean publics’ feelings.
The survey was conducted by the “Genron NPO,” an incorporated nonprofit organization in Japan, and think tanks in Japan, the United States, China, and South Korea. Answers were obtained from a total of about 7,000 persons.
In the 4-nation survey, respondents were asked which country they think is “important” for their respective countries. In South Korea, the U.S. topped all other countries at 71.2%. China ranked second at 59.7%, way above Japan, which was at 33.8%. This seems attributable to the expansion of trade between China and South Korea and the deterioration of relations between Japan and South Korea.
In the meantime, the survey also asked respondents in Japan, the United States, and China which country they think is “trustworthy.” In China, those thinking of South Korea as “very trustworthy” and “somewhat trustworthy” added up to 56.3%, but Japan was at a total of no more than 8.9%. In Japan, South Korea and China were both low, at 15.6% and 9.0%, respectively.
In addition, respondents were asked whether they think the United States should dispatch troops if and when there is a military conflict between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands. In the breakdown of answers to this question, in the U.S. negative answers substantially outnumbered affirmative ones, with “no” accounting for a total of 64% and “yes” for a total of 33%. (Abridged)