The percentage of Japanese who "do not feel friendly" toward Russia reached a record 94.7 percent, a Japanese government survey showed Friday, as Tokyo-Moscow ties have been frozen due to Russia's war in Ukraine.
The figure was up from 86.4 percent in the previous survey a year earlier, and the highest since the question was added in 1978, according to the Cabinet Office, which conducted the annual diplomatic affairs survey from Oct. 6 to Nov. 13 in 2022.
In contrast, an all-time low of 5.0 percent of respondents said they "feel friendly" toward Russia, down from 13.1 percent.
Following Moscow's invasion on Feb. 24 last year, the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has imposed severe economic sanctions on Russia in lockstep with other Group of Seven industrialized nations and other like-minded countries.
The Kremlin has responded by suspending negotiations with Japan on a post-World War II peace treaty and the status of four disputed islets off Hokkaido that the Soviet Union seized in the war's final stages.
Japanese media have extensively reported on the war in Ukraine, especially during the war's early phase, with scenes of destruction by Russian missiles, atrocities purportedly committed by Russian troops and the miseries caused to innocent Ukrainian people occupying newscasts.
The survey also showed a record low 3.1 percent view current Japan-Russia relations as "good," plummeting from the previous poll's 20.6 percent. Those who see the ties as "not good" increased to 92.3 percent from 79.0 percent.
"The outcome reflected people's recognition that the relationship between Japan and Russia has been in a severe condition following the (Russian) aggression against Ukraine and its impact on our nation," a government official told reporters during a briefing.
Still, 57.7 percent said Russo-Japanese ties are "important," but the percentage dropped from 73.1 percent and marked the lowest since the question was added in 2016.
The survey also found 81.8 percent of Japanese "do not feel friendly" toward China, worsening from 79.0 percent a year earlier. Those who "feel friendly" toward the neighbor accounted for 17.8 percent, down from 20.6 percent.
The same official cited "various matters of concern" between Tokyo and Beijing as factors that may have contributed to the perception. Among them are China's "unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in the East and South China seas, including the situation over the Senkaku Islands," the official said.
China has laid claim to the Japan-administered uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, calling them the Diaoyu. Chinese coast guard vessels have repeatedly entered territorial waters around them, resulting in standoffs with Japanese patrol boats.
The official also pointed to a series of Chinese military activities near Taiwan, a self-ruled island that Beijing considers its own, with China's ballistic missiles falling into Japan's exclusive economic zone nearby during drills in August last year.
Those who said the two nations' relationship is "not good" accounted for 84.4 percent, slightly down from 85.2 percent, compared with 11.0 percent who said they are "good," also down from 14.5 percent.
Regarding South Korea, 45.9 percent of Japanese "feel friendly" toward the neighboring country, jumping from 37.0 percent, the survey showed, while those without such feelings accounted for 53.7 percent, down from 62.4 percent.
Relations between Tokyo and Seoul have shown signs of improvement after President Yoon Suk Yeol took office in South Korea in May 2022 with a pledge to take a future-oriented approach toward Japan.
While South Korea was under the government of Yoon's predecessor Moon Jae In, bilateral ties had sunk to the lowest point in years over wartime labor and other issues stemming largely from Japan's 1910-1945 colonization of the Korean Peninsula.
The mail-in survey reached 3,000 Japanese nationals aged 18 and over residing in the country, drawing valid responses from 1,732 of them, or 57.7 percent.
The government started conducting similar polls in 1975 to help it formulate its foreign policy.