Opinion Poll: 2007 U.S. Image of Japan Study (Summary)

June 25, 2007

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned an opinion poll “2007 U.S. Image of Japan Study”, and the main points of its results are as follows. This poll is the latest in a series of similar opinion polls conducted almost every year since 1960.

1.  Results Overview

(1) The 2007 Image of Japan Study continues to show the respondents’ positive views of Japan and a positive evaluation of Japan-U.S. relations in general, a trend that has continued for several years.  The perception of Japan as a dependable ally remains at a very high level, with 74% of the general public and 91% of opinion leaders.  Both among the general public and opinion leaders, the positive evaluation of the current level of cooperation between Japan and the U.S. marks the highest level (67%: general public, 86%: opinion leaders), which exceeded the highest records of the last year.  The percentage of the respondents who think Japan shares common values with the U.S. remained high as last year (83%: general public, 94%: opinion leaders)

(2) The percentage of Americans who cite Japan as the most important Asian partner of the U.S. has increased both among general public and opinion leaders since last year (45% to 48%: general public, 47% to 53%: opinion leaders).

(3) In terms of effective measures that should be taken to improve Japan-US relations, the percentage of those who answered the “improvement of economic and trade relations” was highest (36%) both among the general public and opinion leaders, and the percentage of “Promotion of cooperation on global issues” has also been increasing in recent years.

(4) With regard to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, a vast majority (87% of the general public, 88% of opinion leaders) expressed the view that the treaty should be maintained.  The percentage of those who answered that the Security Treaty was “very important” or “somewhat important” for the security of the U.S. itself was also high (89% of the general public and 88% of opinion leaders). Thus, strong support for the Japan-U.S. security arrangements was reconfirmed.

(5) The perception of Japan’s attributes was surveyed only among the general public this year.  Positive images get high points, with Japan viewed as “a country with great traditions and culture,” “a country with a strong economy and high technology,” and “a country with beautiful nature,” “a country which provides information on such new cultures as anime, fashion, and cuisine,” and “a country which has a strong potential for growth.”

(6) The question of whether Japan should be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was surveyed among opinion leaders for the first time, and 52% of the respondents answered affirmatively.

2. Overview of Survey

(1) Implementing agency: The Gallup Organization

(2) Period conducted: From February to March 2007

(3) Survey methodology:

(a) For the “general public” group, telephone interviews were carried out with 1,506 people (men and women aged 18 and over).

(b) For the “opinion leaders” group, telephone interviews were carried out with 256 people in leading positions in the fields of academia, business, government (administrative agencies and assembly members), organized religion, the media, and organized labor.

(4) The reliability of the survey:

The degree of reliability is 95% for both groups. The sampling error is ±3% for the “general public” group and ±6% for the “opinion leaders” group (for results based on samples of this size, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of error is ±3 percentage points for general public and ±6 percentage points for opinion leaders).

3.  Specific Figures

(Figures in brackets are results of the 2006 and 2005 Survey. See the attached graphs for past trends in major questions.)

(1) Perception of Japan as a Dependable Ally or Friend (See Graph 1)

- Rating of respondents who consider Japan as a dependable ally or friend reached the highest level both among the general public (74%) and opinion leaders (91%) (For the group of opinion leaders, it is the same percentage as 2003, which marked the highest level.)

General public:  74%* (69%, 72%)

Opinion leaders: 91% * (91%, 90%)

*: highest figures

(2) The Most Important Partner of the U.S. in the Asian Region (See Graphs 2 and 3)

- About a half of Americans regard Japan as the most important partner in the Asian region.

- The percentage of those who chose China as the most important partner is increasing in recent years.  However, even though it has increased one percent among the general public, since last year, it fell by five percent among opinion leaders.

1: Japan

General public: 48% (45%, 48%)      

 Opinion leaders: 53% (47%, 48%)

2: China

General public: 34% * (33%, 26%)

Opinion leaders: 38% (43%, 38%)

*: highest figures  

3: Russia

General public: 8% (13%, 13%)        

Opinion leaders: 5% (4%, 9%)

(3) Japan-U.S. Relations

- The percentage of those who think Japan-U.S. cooperative relations are ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ became the highest ever both among the general public and opinion leaders.

(a) The percentage of those who think Japan-U.S. cooperative relations are ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ (See Graph 4)

General public: 67% * (63%, 61%)     

Opinion leaders: 86% * (85%, 83%)

*: highest figures

(b) Evaluation of Japan-U.S. relations in the future (See Graph 5)

(Will improve)  

General public: 47% (42%, 46%),          

Opinion leaders: 30% (42%, 29%)

(Will not change)   

General public: 43% (44%, 42%),    

Opinion leaders: 58% (51%, 62%)

(c)The best way to improve relations between Japan and the U.S.

“Improve Economic/Trade Relations”  

General public: 36% (36%, 38%)        

Opinion leaders: 36% (44%, 50%)

“Promote Cooperation on Global Issues

General public: 30% (28%, 26%)        

Opinion leaders: 29% (27%, 28%)

“Strengthen Political/Security Relations”

General public: 25% (21%, 25%)         

Opinion leaders: 26% (20%, 10%)

“Promote Cultural Exchanges”

General public: 8% (12%, 9%)             

Opinion leaders:  8% (8%, 6%)

(d) Degree of mutual understanding between the peoples of Japan and the U.S. (See Graph 6)


General public: 36% (38%, 36%)          

Opinion leaders: 23% (25%, 23%)


General public: 49% (45%, 47%)           

Opinion leaders: 60% (58%, 60%)

(4) Evaluation of the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements  

- With regard to the Japan-U.S. security arrangements, there has been no significant change; a large majority of the U.S. public shows their support for the maintenance of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

(a) Maintenance of the Japan-US Security Treaty (See Graph 7)

(The Treaty should be maintained)  

General public: 87% (85%, 86%)          

Opinion leaders: 88% (90%, 83%)

(b) The contribution of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty to the peace and stability of Japan and the Far East (See Graph 8)

(Rating of positive responses, either “a great deal” or “a fair amount”)

General public: 77% (71%, 72%)          

 Opinion leaders: 88% (82%, 80%)

(c)  Importance of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty for U.S. security interests (See Graph 9)  

(Rating of positive responses, either “very important” or “somewhat important”)

General public: 89% (87%, 86%)          

Opinion leaders: 88% (88%, 82%)

(5) Economic and Trade Relations     

-As to the reasons for the trade imbalance between Japan and the U.S., the opinion among the general public and opinion leaders was almost equally divided into three options, namely, "U.S. industry's weak competitiveness",  "Macro-economic discrepancies in both countries", and "The closed nature of Japan's market".  

-The main reason for the Japan-U.S. trade imbalance (See Graphs 10 and 11)

 “U.S. industry’s weak competitiveness”

General public: 35%* (33%, 30%)            

Opinion leaders: 31% (32%*, 23%)

*: highest figures

“Macro-economic discrepancies in both countries”   

General public: 26% (30%, 29%)             

Opinion leaders: 34% (33%, 35%)

“The closed nature of Japan’s market”

General public: 32% (29%, 34%)             

Opinion leaders: 30% (29%, 36%)            

(6) Evaluation of Japan’s International Role   

- To the question of whether Japan’s role in international society is commensurate with its economic strength, about 70% responded affirmatively.  The percentage among the general public marks the same as the 69% in 1997 which was the highest in the past.

- Looking at each field, as to last year, the fields of Science/Technology and Global Economy received high evaluations.   

(a) Does Japan play an important international role commensurate with its economic strength? (See Graph 12)


General public: 69%* (68%, 60%)         

Opinion leaders: 70% (74%*, 69%)

 (includes “yes, somewhat” for Opinion leaders)                                                            

*: highest figures


General public: 25% (25%, 29%)           

Opinion leaders: 27% (23%, 29%)

(b) In the following areas, does Japan currently play an important international role? (Rating of positive responses)

“Science / Technology”            

General public: 67% (65%,57%)            

Opinion leaders: 96% (97%, 96%)

“Global Economy”              

General public: 67% (62%, 53%)           

Opinion leaders: 96% (97%, 97%)

“Cultural Exchange”

General public: 58% (54%, 49%)          

 Opinion leaders: 68% (76%, 65%)

“World Politics”              

General public: 44% (48%, 38%)           

Opinion leaders: 61% (71%, 67%)   

“Global Issues”               

General public: 40% (41%, 37%)           

Opinion leaders: 64% (73%, 69%)

“Economic Aid”                        

General public: 34% (36%, 34%)           

Opinion leaders: 61% (70%, 70%)         

“Security (including PKO)”

General public: 33% (35%, 31%)           

Opinion leaders: 43% (45%, 39%)                                    

(7) Perceptions of countries sharing common values with U.S.

- The percentage of response answering that Japan and U.S. share common values indicated a high level, next to the U.K.

(The figures are the total of those who responded “to a great extent” and “to some extent.”  Figures in brackets are from the previous survey and the one before.)  


<General public>


<Opinion leaders>


85% (77% 83%)


96% (96%, 96%)


83% (78%, 79%)


94% (96%, 91%)


79% (72%, 74%)


92% (94%, 92%)


62% (59%, 57%)


83% (83%, 84%)


58%(57%, 56%)


74% (81%, 76%)


52% (57%, 59%)


58% (69%, 69%)


45% (48%, 47%)


45% (55%, 50%)

North Korea

14% (20%, 19%)

North Korea

  6% (14%, 9%)

 (8) Sources of Information on Japan

- The order of sources of information on Japan was as follows:

General public: television, magazines or books, newspapers

Opinion leaders: newspapers, magazines or books, television

- On the Internet, there was an increase of 5 points in the general public and 4 points in opinion leaders, both consistently on the rise.

Sources of information on Japan


<General public>


<Opinion leaders>


80% (78%, 78%)


 89% (90%, 89%)


72% (67%, 62%)


83% (89%, 85%)


71% (71%, 70%)


72% (80%, 71%)

School Studies

51% (53%, 47%)

School Studies

61% (62%, 51%)


43% (38%, 33%)


60% (56%, 50%)


40% (39%, 31%)


48% (48%, 46%)


34% (33%, 35%)

Japanese Friends

46% (52%, 53%)


29% (32%, 30%)


38% (41%, 41%)

Japanese Friends

29% (32%, 30%)


32% (40%, 30%)

Experience in Japan

12% (11%, 12%)

Experience in Japan

24% (31%, 30%)


(9) Perceptions of Japan (General public only)

- Positive images get high points, with Japan viewed as “a country that has great traditions and culture,” “a country with a strong economy and high technology,” “a peaceful country,” “a country that disseminates new culture to the world, such as animation, fashion, and cuisine” “a country with beautiful nature,” and “a country that has potential for growth.”

(Rates of choices that describe Japan’s characteristics. Figures in parentheses show the previous year’s.)

a country that has great traditions and culture:


a country with a strong economy and technology:


a peaceful country:


a country that disseminates new culture to the world.such as animation, fashion, and cuisine:


a country with beautiful nature:


a country that has potential for growth:


a country that has shown leadership in global society:


a western-oriented country:


a democratic country:


a country that is difficult to understand:


a militant country:


a country Americans should be wary of:


(10) Japan’s becoming a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (Opinion leaders only)

- To the question, “Should Japan become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council?” a majority of the opinion leaders polled answered positively.  Those who answered “Japan should become a UNSC member” cited the following reasons: “Japan is expected to play a more positive role in world peace and security” (96%), “Japan is a dependable ally” (87%), “Japan has a big economy and will strengthen the effectiveness of the UNSC” (87%), “Japan shares common values such as democracy and human rights with the U.S.” (87%), and “Japan has been contributing to world peace and security” (75%).

Should Japan become another permanent member of the United Nations Security Council?





Don't know/Refused.