The proportion of Japanese people choosing South Korea as a country they dislike fell below 40 pct for the first time in two years and seven months, a Jiji Press poll showed Friday.
In the monthly public opinion survey, conducted for four days through Sunday, respondents were asked to name a country they have no liking for, allowing multiple choices. South Korea was picked by 38.6 pct of the total, dropping 5.1 percentage points from the preceding month.
The fall came after the figure had moved between 40 and 50 pct since August 2013. It is uncertain whether anti-South Korean sentiment in Japan has been receding, but the drop may reflect recent cooperation between the two countries to take steps against North Korea for its nuclear test and rocket launch.
Negative feelings among Japanese people toward the neighboring country grew sharply after then South Korean President Lee Myung-bak unprecedentedly visited the Sea of Japan islands of Takeshima claimed by Japan in August 2012. In September the same year, the proportion of respondents who answered they did not like South Korea shot up to 43.1 pct, from between 10 and 20 pct seen before the visit.
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