• Asia-Pacific

South Korean President Gains More Trust Among Japanese

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, left, and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol shake hands after a joint press conference in Seoul in May.

The latest joint survey by The Yomiuri Shimbun and the South Korean newspaper Hankook Ilbo also asked respondents in the countries of both papers whether they trust Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Trust in the Japanese prime minister by South Korea respondents has improved significantly compared to under the administrations of former prime ministers Yoshihide Suga and Shinzo Abe. Kishida scored a response of “trustworthy” from 25% of South Koreans surveyed, as well as the same response from 49% of Japanese surveyed. In the joint survey in 2021, 7% of South Korean respondents said they trusted Suga, while the 2019 survey showed only 5% trusted Abe.

In the latest survey, 43% of Japanese respondents and 38% of South Korean respondents said Yoon can be trusted. For Japanese respondents, this contrasted sharply with the 2021 survey, when only 8% of them said then South Korean President Moon Jae-in could be trusted.

S. Koreans oppose treated water discharge

In a recent survey, 84% of South Korean respondents expressed opposition to the Japanese government’s plan to release treated water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the sea.

Only 12% of respondents in South Korea supported the policy, in which radioactive tritium in the water will be diluted to a concentration below the Japanese discharge standard and the World Health Organization’s guidelines for drinking-water quality.

In Japan, 60% of respondents favored the plan and 30% opposed it.

In the 2021 poll, 94% of respondents in South Korea were “unconvinced” by the Japanese government’s explanation of the treated water issue.

The latest survey was conducted shortly after a delegation of South Korean experts visited the plant owned by the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. Despite this, however, there was no significant change in South Korean respondents’ opposition to the water release.