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Japanese attitude towards China at record low: poll

TOKYO -- The number of Japanese who say they do not feel “friendly” towards rival China has hit an all-time high, according to a government poll published at the weekend.

The annual survey, which questioned 3,000 people in October, found that 78 percent of respondents said they did not feel friendly towards China, up 19 points from last year and the highest rating since the poll began in 1978.

A diplomatic row over disputed island territories earlier this year sent ties plummeting to their lowest level in years, sparking street protests on both sides.

“Heightened tension between Japan and China has had a major impact on people's feelings,” the Japanese foreign ministry said, quoted by Jiji Press.

A tense territorial row broke out in September after Japan arrested a Chinese trawler captain over a collision between his boat and Japanese coastguard ships near disputed islands in the East China Sea.

He was eventually freed but the dispute triggered protests from China, which cut or dramatically reduced political, cultural and economic exchanges.

The two have since worked to get their relationship back on an even keel, but the issue continues to stir nationalist feelings in both countries.

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