June 10, 2022
TOKYO – The percentages of respondents in Japan and South Korea who expect bilateral relations to “improve” in the future have increased, according to the latest joint survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun and The Korea Times.
In the May 20-24 survey, 31% of respondents in Japan expected an improvement, down from 14% in the previous survey in 2021, while that figure was 53% in South Korea, down from 29. % in the previous survey.
The latest survey results indicated that respondents reacted favorably to South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s eagerness to improve Japan-South Korea relations, which were seen as the “worst of all.” post-war”. Yoon took office on May 10.
In the survey, respondents were asked about the prospects for relations between the two countries “under the Yoon administration”.
The percentage of respondents in Japan who said the relationship would “get better” exceeded 30% for the first time since 2011. On the South Korean side, the percentage of people with a similar opinion was the second highest after the 56% recorded in 2017. survey, which was conducted immediately after the launch of the previous administration, led by President Moon Jae-in. It is unusual for expectations of improved bilateral relations to increase significantly in Japan and South Korea at the same time.
In South Korea, the percentage of respondents who expected bilateral relations to improve was higher than the 35% who thought relations would remain unchanged, down from 58% in the previous survey.
In Japan, a majority of 61% of respondents still perceived that the relationship would remain unchanged, but this is down from 73% who held this view in the previous survey.
When respondents were asked if they thought their own country should come closer to the other country on historical issues, such as requisitioned wartime workers from the Korean Peninsula and former comfort women, 58% of respondents in Japan said they didn’t think so, up from 59% in the previous survey, while 81% in South Korea gave the same answer, down from 79%.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 60% of respondents in Japan and 59% in South Korea believe there is a possibility that their country will be attacked by another country in the near future. The percentages of those who believe that China could lead a military invasion of Taiwan reached 73% in both countries.
To counter China and Russia, 67% of respondents in Japan and 77% in South Korea said they thought their countries should work with the United States. The survey showed that respondents from both countries shared a sense of crisis in the security environment and an awareness of the importance of cooperation with Washington.
The survey was conducted by telephone among voters aged 18 or older in the two countries, with responses given by 1,019 people in Japan and 1,000 in South Korea.