About 60 percent of Chinese corporate leaders say they cannot do business with Japanese firms because of thorny relations between the two countries, a poll published yesterday showed.
About the same percentage of South Korean bosses said they tried to keep dealings with Japanese companies to a minimum, citing political tensions between the two countries.
However, the survey, carried out jointly by the Nikkei of Japan, South Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper and China’s Global Times, found that about 80 percent of Japanese executives have no problem dealing with companies from the other two countries.
That stands in marked contrast to just 13 percent of Chinese businesspeople who said they were able to separate their company’s dealings from the diplomatic frostiness.
Tokyo is at odds with Beijing and Seoul over different territorial disputes. Relations have also long been strained by differing interpretations of their shared history.
That was exemplified by the visit last month to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which he said was a bid to promote peace.
Seoul and Beijing see the shrine, which counts convicted war criminals among the 2.5 million souls it honors, as a place that glorifies Japan’s 20th-century outrages.
The survey was carried out last month, before Abe’s visit.
“Japanese, Chinese and South Korean corporate leaders hold strikingly different views on cooperating amid political tensions,” the Nikkei said.
Nearly two-thirds of Japanese executives named Southeast Asia as their most promising market. About 38 percent said it was China, down 8 percentage points from last year’s survey.
“China plus one” has become a buzzword in corporate Japan as firms seek a second foothold overseas, as well as in the world’s second-largest economy. Southeast Asia, with a population of about 600 million, offers fertile ground for expansion.
For Japanese companies, “it’s wise to diversify investment to places like Southeast Asia to keep some distance from China and avoid getting sucked in,” Daiwa Institute of Research chief economist Mitsumaru Kumagai said.
The poll received answers from 109 companies in Japan, 100 in China and 137 in South Korea.