Koreans consider Japan as the second biggest military threat to South Korea, next to North Korea.
The East Asia Institute of Korea and a Japanese NGO “Press NPO” announced such a result from joint research on mutual perception, which was conducted from May to June last year, at the press conference in Seoul on July 10.
According to the result, 46.4 percent of Korean responders picked Japan when questioned as “a country or region that could be a military threat to my country” (2 multiple answers). Japan was the number two answer next to North Korea (83.4 percent), beating China (39.6 percent), which was number two last year. This shows that Koreans recognize the Japanese military threat more than the Chinese.
In the same survey last year, Koreans picked North Korea as number one (86.7 percent), followed by China (47.8 percent) and Japan (43.9 percent) as “countries with military threats.”
In the case of the Japanese, Korea ranked number four with 15.1 percent, after North Korea (72.5 percent), China (71.4 percent), and Russia (29.0 percent).
About the possibility of military conflicts between Korea and Japan, the majority of both Koreans (47.9 percent) and Japanese (57.0 percent) answered “will not happen.”
However, 34.1 percent of Koreans said that military conflicts are possible in distant future. Only 8.8 percent of the Japanese said so.
As the conflicts between the two countries regarding history and territory issues have intensified recently, the Japanese have started to become more prejudiced against Korea.
Questioned with the image of the other country, 54.4 percent of Japanese said “not quite good” or “not good” about Korea. Negative responses increased 17.1 percent compared to the previous year.
When asked, 70.9 percent of Koreans also responded that they have negative perceptions of Japan as well, but this decreased a bit from last year.
The main reasons for the negative perceptions of Japan (2 multiple answers) for Koreans were “they do not repent of the history of colonization” (76.8 percent) and the “Dok-do problem” (71.6 percent).
Among the Japanese, “because they criticize Japanese for history problems” (73.9 percent) was the response from the majority, which increased 18.1 percent from the previous year.
Furthermore, 53.1 percent of Koreans understand the political and social mechanism of Japan as “militarism,” and 44.8 percent of Japanese said of Korea “nationalism.”
But both countries feel that they need to improve the current relationship between Korea and Japan.
Fully 10.4 percentage points more Koreans responded that the current Korea-Japan relationship is “bad,” and so did 18.7 percentage points more of Japanese respondents. Both Koreans (46.4 percent) and Japanese (31.4 percent) answered that the current situation is “a problem and needs to be improved.”
This survey targeted 1,400 male and female Koreans who were over 19 years old and 1,000 Japanese over 18 years old from May to June this year through face-to-face interviews in Korea, and the visit-and-collect method in Japan. The confidence level is 95 percent, and error range is ±3.1 percent.