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Hamstrung business dealings

Hardy GraupnerJanuary 8, 2014

A poll conducted in Japan, China and South Korea has focused on how much business leaders are influenced by political tensions among the three nations. The survey showed considerable behavioral differences.

Chinese national flag flying atop of the disputed islands, called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China,
Image: Reuters

The survey compiled by Japan's Nikkei, South Korea's Maeil Business Newspaper and China's Global Times revealed corporate leaders from the three nations held strikingly different views on cooperating amid political tension.

The poll received answers from well over 300 companies in the three Asian countries which were asked about their willingness to engage in close business ties with consecutives across the border.

As little as 13 percent of the Chinese managers polled said they could separate business from politics to work together closely or cooperate at all with Japanese counterparts, with the same percentage of South Korean executives holding the same view.

Drawing conclusions

By contrast, current political spats appeared to have far less influence on Japanese managers of whom 80 percent maintained they would not let politics get in the way of their dealings with Chinese corporate leaders.

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Tokyo has been at odds with both Beijing and Seoul over a series of territorial disputes. Relations have also been strained by starkly differing interpretations of their shared history.

In a response to the findings of the poll, the chief economist at the Daiwa Institute of Research, Mitsumaru Kumagai, warned his country not to place too much emphasis on trade with China.

"It's wise to diversify investment to places like Southeast Asia to keep some distance from China and avoid getting sucked in," Kumugai said.