More than 60 percent of South Koreans regard Japan as a military threat to their country and to the region, this according to a recent survey made by Seoul-based think tank Asan Institute for Policy Studies. Data from the public opinion poll on foreign relations made by the think tank revealed that 62 percent of South Koreans feel militarily threatened by Japan. This may reflect the psyche of South Korean citizens, especially when the question of whether a country was favorable to South Koreans was asked, where Japan got only 2.66 on a 10-point scale, slightly higher than the 2.43 points given to North Korea.
The survey results were released on Tuesday, and political analysts say that this is likely a reflection of the strained bilateral relations between both nations, mostly over territorial and historical issues. There is also a collective negativity regarding Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to allow Japan to exercise its right to collective defense, the think tank said. But the data from the survey reveals that all hope is not lost for relations between the two countries, as 58.1 percent of the respondents think the two neighboring Asian nations need to hold a summit and that 60.4 percent want a bilateral pact to protect military secrets. This suggests that a majority of South Koreans think it necessary to cooperate with Japan.
The survey was done among one thousand adult South Korean citizens between Sept. 2 and 4. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said Tuesday he sees “no light at the end of the tunnel” despite what he describes as President Park Geun-hye’s efforts to improve relations between the two disputing nations. Recently, a number of Korean citizens made a legal appeal to have their relatives stricken off the list of war dead honored in the controversial Yasukuni war shrine. The appeal was thrown out by a Japanese court, saying that the Koreans should respect the “freedom of religion”. The South Korean government has pledged to support the complainants and find ways to deal with the historical issue that has been a thorn on the side of both countries since the beginning of World War II.
[via Japan Times]