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I've been unable to find the difference from example sentences online. Is it a matter of formality? Something completely else?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

From Goo thesaurus:

【2】「意見」は、十分に考え尽くされた結果である場合も、一時的な思いつきである場合もある。
【3】「見解」は、十分考慮し判断した結果まとめあげられたものをいい、政府など公式の機関の考えなどに用いられることが多い。

Loose translation:

意見 can be well thought out, or it can just be something that popped into your head.
見解 refers to the result of sufficient consideration and judgement, and is often used with the thoughts of official institutions such as the government.

This fits with my own experience of the words. I see 見解 more in political news and academic papers, whereas I see 意見 everywhere from daily conversation to expert "opinions" in news articles etc.

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