• By The Financial District


Some 71.6 percent of South Koreans see Japan unfavorably, up 21.7 percentage points from the previous year, as diplomatic relations between the Asian neighbors sink to historic lows over wartime labor issues, a survey showed, Mainichi Shimbun reported. 

South Koreans who have good feelings of Japan fell by 19.4 points to 12.3 percent, near the record-low of 12.2 percent in 2013, according to the poll conducted in September and October by Tokyo-based nonprofit think tank Genron NPO and the Seoul-based East Asia Institute. The annual survey, which started in 2013, reflects sharply deteriorating sentiment among South Koreans toward Japan. Those who see bilateral relations as extremely poor or poor soared 22.3 points from the previous year to a record-high 88.4 percent, it said, Kyodo news agency also reported. 

Tokyo-Seoul ties tumbled following a South Korean top court order in October 2018 for a Japanese company to pay four men for the forced labor they endured during the 1910-1945 period of Japan's colonial rule on the Korean Peninsula. Japan argues the ruling goes against a 1965 bilateral agreement under which it provided financial aid to South Korea with the understanding the compensation issue was settled "completely and finally." 

However, the feeling is mutual since 46.3 percent of Japanese respondents said they have unfavorable feelings toward South Koreans, down 3.6 points, and those having good feelings climbing to 25.9 percent from 20 percent, which was the lowest since 2013.