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Soured ties with China, Russia pull down Japan's premier ratings
[November 07, 2010]

Soured ties with China, Russia pull down Japan's premier ratings

TOKYO, Nov 08, 2010 (dpa - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Approval ratings for Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan's government plunged as more people expressed dissatisfaction with its handling of diplomatic problems with China and Russia, a news report said Monday.

Support for Kan's cabinet fell sharply to 35 per cent, the lowest since he took office in June, from 53 per cent a month earlier, while its disapproval rating rose 18 percentage points to 55 per cent, according to a survey conducted by the major daily Yomiuri.

A total of 91 per cent of those polled said they were worried about the administration's foreign and security policy. They were notably dissatisfied with how the government had dealt with territorial disputes with China and Russia.

A Chinese fishing boat's collision with two Japanese coast guard vessels off a disputed set of islands in the East China Sea and the following arrest of its skipper in early September have led to the worst diplomatic row in several years between Japan and China.

On Friday, a leaked video clip showing the collision was posted on the video sharing website YouTube.

The survey showed 82 per cent did not value the government's overall response to the matter.

Moreover, the survey also found that 68 per cent of those polled saw Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to one of the disputed Islands north-east of Japan as problematic.

Medvedev travelled to Kunashiri Island a week ago, one of the four Kuril Islands that Japan claims as its territory. They are currently under Russian rule.

Although Japan recalled its ambassador to Moscow in response to the visit, 48 per cent said future countermeasures were necessary.

The islands were occupied by Soviet forces during the closing days of World War II. The two countries have not signed a peace treaty because of the row over the islands.

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