Survey Shows 50% in Japan, 42% in S. Korea Feel Positive About Relationship with Other Country; Poll Conducted on About 2,000 People

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Japan and ROK flags

Fifty percent of respondents in Japan said they felt that the country had a good relationship with South Korea, while 42% of respondents in South Korea said the same about Japan, according to the latest joint survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun and South Korean newspaper Hankook Ilbo.

The figure hit 50% in Japan for the first time since 2011, when the figure reached 53%, an increase from 45% compared to a 2023 survey. In South Korea, the figure exceeded 40% for the second consecutive year, but decreased from 43% compared to the previous survey.

Forty-eight percent of respondents in Japan said they felt a sense of closeness with South Korea, while 33% in South Korea said the same about Japan. Figures from both countries hit record highs since the question started being asked in 2013.

On their bilateral relationship in the future, 57% of respondents in Japan said it would be good to cultivate a friendship even if they did not agree on historical issues, compared to 41% who said it would be difficult as long as they were divided on those issues. In South Korea, 49% said it would be good to cultivate a friendship, while 50% said it would be difficult.

Regarding strengthening security cooperation between Japan, South Korea and the United States, 86% of respondents in Japan and 79% in South Korea approved.

When asked which nation — the United States or China — would become more important to their country, 73% in Japan said the United States, while 19% said China. In South Korea, 68% said the United States, while 28% said China.

In March 2023, Seoul said its government-related foundation will provide compensation equal to the amount Japanese companies were ordered to pay over wartime labor.

Fifty-one percent of respondents in Japan supported the decision, compared to 57% in 2023, while 39% did not support it, compared to 31% the previous year. In South Korea, 34% of respondents supported it, a decrease from 36% in 2023, while 61% did not, an increase from 59% the previous year.

When asked about the declining birthrate, a serious topic for both countries, only 18% in Japan and 21% in South Korea said they approve their government’s measures.

The phone survey, which received responses from voters 18 or older, was conducted between May 24 and 26. Responses were received from 1,045 people in Japan and 1,000 in South Korea.