Books & Reports

Challenges and Opportunities for Korea-Japan Relations in 2014

 
Executive Summary

This report offers an in-depth look at attitudes of the South Korean public on Japan. It uses public opinion data collected by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies via its public opinion surveys. Its core findings are outlined below.

  • Following Prime Minister Abe’s Yasukuni visit, his favorability rating declined to 1.0 on a 0-10 scale. This is the same favorability rating found for Kim Jong-Un. The favorability rating of Japan declined to 2.4 following the visit. This was a 0.2 point decline from early December.
  • A near majority (49.5%) of the Korean public remained supportive of a Korea-Japan summit, and a similar number (50.7%) stated support for the signing of GSOMIA. The public also remains supportive of President Park taking a proactive role in improving relations (57.8%).
  • The continuing support for improving Korea-Japan relations stems from China’s rising influence in the region. If China continues its rise, a clear majority (63.9%) stated that security cooperation with Japan would be a necessity. A disproportionate number of those who support an improvement between two countries are more wary of the rise of China.
  • Dokdo is still cited as the biggest obstacle to improving Korea-Japan relations. This was also true among those respondents with the most favorable attitudes towards Japan, with 49.5% of this group stating as such. The result implies that Koreans will react strongly to any participation by Abe’s government in the upcoming events marking Japan’s Takeshima Day on February 22.
  • The data also suggests that perceived U.S. support for Japan could harm Korean perceptions of the United States. Following U.S. support for Japan’s eventual expansion of its collective self defense, an increased number of Koreans saw the Korea-U.S. relationship as competitive.

 

About Experts

Kim Jiyoon
Kim Jiyoon

Public Opinion Studies Program / Center for Public Opinion and Quantitative Research

Dr. KIM Jiyoon is a research fellow in the Public Opinion Studies Program in the Center for Public Opinion and Quantitative Research at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. Previously, Dr. Kim was a postdoctoral research fellow at Université de Montréal. Her research interests include elections and voting behavior, American politics, and political methodology. Her recent publications include “Political judgment, perceptions of facts, and partisan effects” (Electoral Studies, 2010), “Public spending, public deficits, and government coalition” (Political Studies, 2010), and “The Party System in Korea and Identity Politics” (in Larry Diamond and Shin Giwook Eds., New Challenges for Maturing Democracies in Korea and Taiwan, Stanford University Press, 2014). She received her B.A. from Yonsei University, M.P.P. in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Karl Friedhoff
Karl Friedhoff

Center for Public Opinion and Quantitative Research

Karl FRIEDHOFF is a program officer in the Public Opinion Studies Program at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. Prior to joining the Asan Institute, he was a program assistant at the Institute for Global Economics. He earned an M.A. in international commerce at Seoul National University and a B.A. in political science at Wittenberg University. His writing has appeared in the Korea Herald and the Joongang Daily.

Kang Chungku
Kang Chungku

Center for Public Opinion and Quantitative Research

Kang Chungku is a senior research associate in the Public Opinion and Quantitative Research Center at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. Prior to joining the Asan Institute, he was a research assistant at the Korea Dialogue Academy in Seoul. He earned both an M.A. in Sociology and a B.A. in English at Korea University. His research interests include quantitative research methods, survey design, and statistical data analysis.

Lee Euicheol
Lee Euicheol

Center for Public Opinion and Quantitative Research

Lee Euicheol is a program officer in the Public Opinion Studies Center at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. His main responsibilities are practicing and analyzing ‘Asan Daily Poll’ and ‘Asan Annual Survey’. His research interests include opinion polls, Korean politics, and elections. He received his B.A. in Business Administration from Yonsei University.