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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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up vote 5 down vote accepted

From Goo thesaurus:


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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