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Chinese and Japanese people hold more positive views lately toward China-Japan relations, while issues of history and territory stick out as the main factors creating negative feelings, an annual survey released on Thursday showed.
According to the survey of more than 1,500 Chinese and 1,000 Japanese, 22.8 percent of Chinese said they believed bilateral relations are "very good" or "relatively good", an increase of 8.8 percentage points over last year.
The proportion of Japanese respondents who said they held a similar view increased from 1.9 percent last year to 6.7 percent this year. At the same time, Japanese who believe bilateral ties are "bad" or "relatively bad" dropped to 44.9 percent from 71.9 percent last year.
Wang Gangyi, deputy director of the China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration, which organized the Chinese part of the survey, said the statistics are "generally in line with the improvement of bilateral ties".
Meetings between the two countries" leaders this year gave out more positive signs for the development of bilateral ties, Wang said, citing as an example the meeting between President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg in July.
Xi and Abe also met on the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders" Meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam in November.
Yasushi Kudo, president of The Genron NPO, a nonprofit institution that organized the Japanese part of the survey, said efforts by the two countries" governments to improve ties－such as holding leaders meetings and diplomatic exchanges－have helped improve their respective people"s impressions of the other country.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic ties. A number of nongovernmental exchanges were organized to recognize the milestone in both countries, and may have had a positive influence on people"s views, Wang added.
On the other hand, history and territorial issues linger as the top two reasons for bad feelings.
More than 67 percent of the Chinese surveyed chose "Japan has not sincerely apologized for and reflected on the history of its invasion of China" as a reason for having "a bad impression" of Japan, the survey found. The figure was slightly smaller last year, at 63.6 percent.
Japan"s "nationalization" of the Diaoyu Islands ranked as the second major reason for friction－63 percent in the Chinese poll.
The statistics showed that the general public"s support for the improvement of bilateral ties is not strong enough, and the two countries" governments need to stick to the direction of peace, friendship and cooperation and work relentlessly for such improvement, Wang said.
Wang Xu contributed to this story.