Opinion Poll on Japan in Six ASEAN Countries (Summary of Results)

May 1, 2008

  1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned TNS Singapore to conduct an opinion poll on Japan in six ASEAN countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) during February and March 2008.  This poll was conducted either through interview or online to 300 nationals or permanent residents aged 18 or more in each country.
  2. On their relations with Japan, more than 90% respondents in each country answered “friendly” or “somewhat friendly”.  Also more than 90% answered they considered Japan as a “trustworthy” friend or “trustworthy with some reservations”, indicating a widely positive image of their relations with Japan.
  3. On their image of Japan, in descending order, the first place went to “technologically advanced country” (86%), the second “economically advanced country” (79%) and the third “a country with a high standard-of-living” (75%), indicating a strong image of a leading scientific and technological power and a rich developed country.  Also in the fourth place were “country with interesting culture” (69%) and “country with beautiful natural scenery” (69%), followed by the sixth place “country that transmits/spreads the animation/fashion/culinary and other contemporary culture around the world” (61%).  As seen in the above answers, high interest was shown in the Japanese culture (traditional and modern) and its beautiful scenery.  On the Japanese people, such image as “hardworking”, “efficient”, “polite” and “work well as a team” dominated the top ranks.
  4. On Japan’s international contribution, 92% in the six countries as a whole gave a positive answer that the economic and technological cooperation of the Japanese government have been helpful, 93% welcomed Japanese companies’ business in their countries, and 87% were positive toward Japan’s active role in the development of Asia, so that a high evaluation was indicated for Japan’s international contribution, especially in economic terms.
  5. To the question of which country is an important partner for the ASEAN countries, the evaluation results in the six countries as a whole were: China (30%), Japan (28%) and the United States (23%) in descending order. The result showed that there were divided views in the six countries as to the importance of Japan and China.  Japan was ranked in the first place in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, whereas China was at the top in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
  6. To the question whether Japan should become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, which was put to respondents who knew the function of the Security Council, 78% gave a positive answer.
  7. Asked whether they knew that Japan has concluded or is negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA)/Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with ASEAN countries, 41% in the six countries responded “yes”.  Of these, asked what they expect from an EPA/FTA, 27% said “investment and trade expansion”, another 27% “improvement and development of the economic structure of ASEAN member countries”, 22% “strengthening of ties between Japan and ASEAN, not only in the economic field” and 19% “technical support from Japan”.
  8. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has commissioned opinion polls for the ASEAN region six times in the past (1978, 1983, 1987, 1992, 1997 and 2002).