Nearly 90% of Japanese feel that the security environment in East Asia is more severe, according to a survey released by the Foreign Ministry last week, reflecting public awareness of China's growing military clout.
In the telephone survey from March 17 to 22, 59.0% of 1,000 respondents said they think the security environment surrounding the East Asian region has been getting more severe in recent years, and 29.0% said they think it's too much, according to the poll.
The figures were up from 54.7% and 27.7% a year ago.
Asked 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 mark the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties this year, but their relations remain tense over territorial, security and wartime issues. Chinese Coast Guard ships have repeatedly intruded into Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands, which China calls Diaoyu.
70.3% of respondents expect cooperation in the security field to be strengthened, while 44.4% say energy and environment issues.
To deal with Russia's invasion of Ukraine, 64.6% said the government should strengthen its 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.
The Foreign Ministry said that public understanding and support is essential to the success of diplomatic policies, so that we can draw on the survey outcome for future policy planning.