Japan-China Ties Are Improving, But They're Still Pretty Bad

(Bloomberg) -- People in Japan and China see ties between Asia’s two biggest economies as improving, but relations are still pretty bad.

A survey of public opinion survey in both countries published by Genron NPO showed just under 45 percent of Japanese respondents saw relations with China as bad, the lowest figure since 2010. About 64 percent of Chinese said they thought ties were poor -- the least in five years.

Tensions between the neighbors turned their most hostile in decades in 2012 over a territorial dispute. They’ve slowly improved since, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping have sought to smooth over differences in recent months.

Japan-China Ties Are Improving, But They're Still Pretty Bad

Even so, just 23 percent of Chinese respondents and a mere 6.7 percent of Japanese saw ties as good. Respondents from both countries cited the dispute over the uninhabited East China Sea islands as the biggest barrier to improving relations.

For the survey conducted in October and November, 1,000 people in Japan filled out questionnaires, while 1,564 people in China were interviewed.

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