Tue, May 06, 2008 - Page 5 News List

Japanese want tougher stance on China, poll shows

AFP , TOKYO

A majority of Japanese believe that their country should take a tougher stance on China, a new poll showed yesterday ahead of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s (胡錦濤) landmark visit.

Asked whether Japan needs to change its diplomatic and other positions on China, 51 percent of people said it should be stricter, the Mainichi Shimbun daily said about the survey.

The ratio was twice as large as the 26 percent who wanted Japan to be “more friendly” towards China, the May 1 to May 2 telephone poll of 1,042 adults nationwide showed.

Hu heads to Tokyo today — the first visit to Japan by a Chinese president in a decade and only the second ever.

Japan is his first foreign destination since major protests broke out in March against China’s rule in Tibet. China’s ensuing crackdown has caused an international uproar and cast a shadow on Beijing’s cherished Olympic Games.

But unlike European leaders who have flirted with shunning the Olympic opening ceremony, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said he hoped to go even before Hu could formally extend the invitation.

Fukuda, struggling to reverse rock-bottom approval ratings caused by domestic issues, has championed reconciliation with China throughout his career.

The Mainichi said the poll appeared to reflect unhappiness with China’s insistence that the Tibet issue is an internal matter, as well as concerns over the safety of food imports from China.

Also see: Editorial: Will Japan get in bed with China?

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