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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 11:29 12/08/2008
News Review #475: December 8, 2008

Ties with U.S. Shaky, Record-High 28% Say

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

Ties with U.S. Shaky, Record-High 28% Say
The Japan Times (12/7/2008):


It is reported in the Japan Times article linked above that 68.9 percent of the Japanese recently polled by the Cabinet Office think the Japan-US relationship is "good" or "relatively good," while 28.1 percent of the public regarding it as "not good" or "not so good." At first sight, this appears to be a reasonable result for the long-term alliance between the two nations, but these numbers show 7-8 percentage points worse than the previous survey in the both directions, and actually is the worst record since those questions were asked for the first time in 1998.

Even more alarming results are about the Japan-China relationship, according to this official survey. Here the numbers for China are almost reversed from those for the US, as about two out of three Japanese do not feel friendly toward China, and actually those who think Japan-China relations are "not good" rose to 71.9 percent, up 8.9 points from the previous survey and the worst since 1998. It is possible that this might be a result of negative publicity regarding food poisoning incidents and the Chinese government's response (or the lack of it) to such problems.

No matter what reasons might be considered, Japan's worsening relations with its most important ally, the US, and its most important neighbor, China, are not a healthy development. In fact, this may well be a result, not of any external factors, such as US policy toward North Korea or China's handling of food safety, but more of Japan's internal conditions, such as inward-looking policy agenda among politicians, one-sided news coverage in the mass media, xenophobic tendencies among the general public, etc. In a sense, this kind of public survey can give the Japanese some warning against worsening sentiments among themselves.

This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):

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