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According to polls, nearly 90% of Japanese feel East Asia’s security environment is more severe than it is.

According to polls, nearly 90% of Japanese feel East Asia’s security environment is more severe than it is.

The Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea | KYODO

Nearly 90% of Japanese feel the security environment in East Asia is more severe, according to a survey result released by the Foreign Ministry last week, reflecting public awareness of China’s growing military clout.

In the telephone survey conducted nationwide from March 17 to 22, 59.0% of 1,000 respondents said they “really think” the security environment surrounding the East Asian region has been getting more severe in recent years, and 29.0% said they think so somewhat, the poll showed.

These figures were higher than the 54.7% and 27.7% of a year ago, respectively.

Asked about what should be focused on in diplomacy toward China with multiple answers allowed, 61.6% replied that Japan should take a firm stance on Chinese vessels’ intrusion into Japanese territorial waters and other actions, while 50.7% said it should urge China to respect human rights, freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

Tokyo and Beijing will mark the 50th anniversary the normalization diplomatic ties this year. However, their relations remain tension over territorial, wartime, and security issues. Chinese Coast Guard ships have repeatedly plowed into Japanese territorial waters around Senkaku Islands (which China calls Diaoyu).

Concerning the Japan-U.S. relations, 70.3% of respondents expect that cooperation in the security area will be strengthened. This is far more than the 54.1% who say the economic, finance, and trade areas. 44.4% focus on energy and environment issues.

To deal with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 64.6% said the government should beef up collaboration with the international community, including other members of the Group of Seven major developed nations, and 63.7% said Japan should actively accept evacuees from Ukraine.

“To implement diplomatic policies smoothly, obtaining public understanding and support is essential so that we will draw on (the survey outcome) for future policy planning,” the Foreign Ministry said.

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