Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's favorability among South Korean citizens has dipped to match that of North Korea's young leader, a poll showed Wednesday.
The February poll of 1,000 South Koreans by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies saw respondents give Abe an average of 0.99 out of 10, a figure identical to that given to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The Japanese leader was given 1.65 in the same poll last July and 1.43 last December before his rating dropped to the current level.
The poll on South Koreans' favorability toward the leaders of neighboring countries saw U.S. President Barack Obama given 6.21 points.
The unfavorable poll results for Abe reflect icy South Korea-Japan relations, caused by the Abe administration's continuing nationalist remarks and actions regarding its World War aggression and atrocities.
The prime minister's visit last December to the Yasukuni war shrine, which honors Japanese WWII criminals along with other war dead, has inflamed public sentiment here, further souring bilateral ties.
The Japanese government's renewed attempts to lay claims to the easternmost South Korean islets of Dokdo have also prompted angry reactions from Seoul. (Yonhap)