Tokyo: China overtook Japan as the most
important partner for the United States in Asia for the first
time since 1985, a survey conducted by the Japanese Foreign
Ministry covering 200 US leaders has shown.
The ministry which released the report today said the
change reflects China`s increasing economic weight.
The US survey commissioned to Gallup in February and
March also showed that Japan tied with China for the position
of the most important US partner in Asia in a poll of some
1,200 people aged 18 or above among the general public.
Among the opinion leaders, 56 per cent said China is
the most important partner in Asia for the United States,
compared with 36 per cent who named Japan. The poll of the
general public put both countries at 44 per cent.
The margin of error was 7 per cent for the opinion
leaders and 3 per cent for the general public, according to
As for reasons why the opinion leaders chose China or
Japan as the most important US partner in Asia, economic ties
and US bound investment topped the list for both countries,
while they cited the size of national land and population for
China and the alliance and friendship for Japan as the second
most common reason.
The Gallup research, conducted almost every year since
1960, demonstrated that US confidence in Japan remains almost
unchanged despite a recent bilateral row over the relocation
of a US base in Okinawa.
Ninety per cent of the polled leaders in the US
government, academic, business, media, religion and labour
sectors as well as 79 per cent of the general public viewed
Japan "as a dependable ally or friend," compared with 91
per cent and 80 per cent in the previous year.