ASEAN countries rank as important as Japan

ASEAN countries rank as important as Japan

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, fifth from left, attends the ASEAN-Japan summit in Thailand in November 2019. According to a Foreign Ministry survey, China overtook Japan as a country most ASEAN nations think it will be an important partner in the future for the Group of 20 members of the Asahi Shimbun file photo.

A Foreign Ministry official said that we shouldn't react nervously to the outcome of the survey. The government will look at the cause of Japan's drop and reflect the findings in policy planning. China went to the top for the first time since a similar survey for fiscal 2007 and returned to the top for the first time since.

According to the opinion poll on Japan for fiscal 2021, 48 percent of respondents in ASEAN countries chose China, while 43 percent chose Japan.

Respondents were allowed to answer a question: What countries do you consider an important partner to your country in the future? In the previous poll for fiscal 2019, 48 percent cited China, the same as in the latest poll, while 51 percent mentioned Japan.

The survey, which included 2,700 respondents, was conducted by nine of the 10 ASEAN members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Myanmar was not included in the poll due to political instability.

According to the survey, China ranked at the top of the G-20 countries among respondents from five of the nine nations.

Japan's ranking varied from second to fifth, depending on the ASEAN country.

Japan s fall comes as the government is placing more importance on its relations with countries in the Indo-Pacific region.

The ministry conducts a similar survey around the world.