Poll shows chilly relations between Japan, S.Korea

A joint opinion survey conducted by private organizations of Japan and South Korea shows that many people in the two nations think bilateral ties are not favorable.

The survey was carried out by Japanese non-profit organization The Genron NPO and South Korea's East Asia Institute think tank in August and September.
About 1,000 people from each country responded.

The results were released on Tuesday. Asked what they think of current bilateral relations, 52.7 percent of Japanese respondents said they were extremely bad or relatively bad. The figure is down 2 percentage points from last year.

The figure for South Koreans was 81 percent, down 7.4 points from a year earlier.
The figures show slight improvement from last year for both countries. But bilateral ties, strained by issues such as wartime labor and those referred to as comfort women, have had a negative impact on how Japanese and South Koreans see each other.

The survey also asked if bilateral ties will improve under the new South Korean government to be inaugurated next May.

46.1 percent of Japanese and 48.3 percent of South Koreans said the ties will not change.

Genron president Kudo Yasushi said the countries' public feelings toward each other still remain chilly. But he said conflict between the United States and China has caused some change in their perception. He urged Tokyo and Seoul to take action for the future of the region.