TOKYO, March 12 (Korea Bizwire) — Four out of five South Koreans are distrustful of their island neighbors to the east, according to the results of a poll conducted by a Japanese news and communications organization.
A total of 1,000 respondents each from South Korea, the United States, the U.K., Thailand, China and France participated in the poll carried out in January.
Of the South Koreans who participated, 79.4 percent said Japan was not to be trusted, while 19.2 percent said the opposite.
In the four years since this opinion poll was first held, the lack of faith in Japan among South Koreans has never wavered. From 2015 through 2017, the figures for lack of trust came in at 79.4 percent, 81 percent and 85.7 percent.
Among the key reasons for the lack of neighborly consideration are the actions of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration, namely the denials of historical affairs and the movement to restore Japan to its past militaristic status.
Since entering office in December 2012, Abe has raised Japan’s defense budget in what is now the sixth straight year with the goal of transforming the world’s third-largest economy into a military power. To do so, Abe is looking to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution, which bars the country from operating a military and conducting warfare (forces for self-defense have been maintained).
Moreover, Abe has previously denied Japanese responsibility for the issue of South Korean women taken as sex slaves during Japanese occupation – the so-called comfort women – and he has also been viewed as attempting to pour cold water on inter-Korea relations, which are currently on the mend.
Following South Korea, the Chinese were the most distrustful of Japan at 74.1 percent. Conversely, 96.2 percent of Thai respondents and 81 percent of Americans said Japan could be trusted.
This pattern held when it came to positive feelings of good will towards Japan. While the majority of Thais and Americans said they had positive feelings towards Japan, the reverse was true for South Koreans and Chinese.
More South Korean interview participants (52.2 percent) had visited Japan than those of any of the other nationalities that partook in the opinion poll. Ranking second was the United States (11.1 percent).