BEIJING, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- A dispute between China and Japan over islands in the East China Sea has soured attitudes of the citizens of each country toward the other, a poll has found.
Although the bad feelings are the worst in nearly a decade, both Chinese and Japanese see ties between the countries as "important," China Daily reported Thursday.
The poll was co-sponsored by China Daily and Genron NPO, a Japanese non-profit think tank. It was conducted in June and July.
It found that of the 2,542 Chinese interviewed, 98.2 percent held a negative attitude toward Japan, 28 points higher than a similar poll in 2012. Some 90.1 percent of 1,805 Japanese surveyed had negative feelings toward China, up from 84.3 percent last year.
Of the intellectuals surveyed, 52.8 percent of the Chinese and 36.3 percent of the Japanese had positive attitudes.
The poll found the primary source of the bad feelings was the lingering dispute over the Diaoyu Islands, which both China and Japan claim.
Some 53.2 percent of Japanese cited it, while the number of Chinese putting it at the top of their list had nearly doubled, from 39.8 percent last year to 77.6 percent now.
Despite the dispute, nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said maintaining ties was "important." Among intellectuals, the feeling was even stronger, with 80 percent of Chinese and 92 percent of Japanese expressing the sentiment.