TOKYO -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Japan should be called off, a majority of respondents told Nikkei in a weekend survey, reflecting international objections to China's tightening grip over Hong Kong.
The Nikkei/TV Tokyo poll found that 62% want the trip canceled, while 28% said it should take place. The visit was initially slated for April but pushed back in March over coronavirus concerns, and the two sides have not been able to set a new date.
Among backers of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and Democratic Party for the People, more than 70% of respondents said the state visit should be called off. A majority favored cancellation even among supporters of junior coalition partner Komeito, which has historically placed weight on strong ties with China.
By age, 68% of respondents 60 and older said the trip should be canceled, against 58% of those in their 40s and 50s and 59% of the 18-to-39 demographic. The results show widespread opposition to the visit, across political affiliations and age groups.
On July 8, ruling Liberal Democratic Party panels on foreign affairs and diplomacy put together a resolution saying they "have no choice but to urge" the government to cancel the state visit. The government has said that while it will continue to communicate with China, the two sides are not at the stage of finalizing specific dates for the trip.
Some LDP lawmakers have opposed the visit out of dissatisfaction over China's detention of Japanese citizens on suspicion of spying, in addition to the activity of Chinese vessels in waters around the Senkaku Islands -- Japan-administered islands in the East China Sea that are claimed by China as the Diaoyu.
In June, China pushed ahead with enacting a national security law for Hong Kong over objections from the international community. This further strained Sino-American relations, negatively impacting the atmosphere in Japan for a state visit by Xi.
The survey also found that 62% of respondents want the government to be cautious about declaring a coronavirus emergency again, compared with 33% seeking a quick declaration. Respondents were given two choices: quickly declare an emergency again to prevent more infections or make the decision carefully by taking the economic impact into account.
Eighty percent said the government is going too fast in launching the Go To Travel campaign to promote domestic travel in areas excluding Tokyo on July 22, while 15% said the timing is right.
Approval for the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe rose 5 points from June to 43%, while disapproval came to 50%.
The national poll, conducted via random-digit dialing from Friday through Sunday, drew valid responses from 1,046 adults, for a response rate of 45.7%.