Opinion Poll: 2008 U.S. Image of Japan Study (Summary)

May 1, 2008

  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned the Gallup Organization to conduct an opinion poll “2008 U.S. Image of Japan Study” from February to March 2008, and the main points of the results are as follows.

  This poll is the latest in a series of similar opinion polls conducted almost every year since 1960.  For the "general public" group, telephone interviews were carried out with 1,500 adults aged 18 and over, living in the continental United States.

  For the "opinion leaders" group, telephone interviews were carried out with 250 people in leading positions in the fields of government, business, academia, mass media, religion and  labor union.

  1. The 2008 Image of Japan Study continues to show the respondents’ positive views of Japan and a positive evaluation of Japan-U.S. relations in general, which is a trend that has continued for several years.  Even though the percentage on the perception of Japan as a dependable ally among the general public (67%) represents 7 points decrease from the figure in 2007, it was 92% among opinion leaders, which marked the highest-ever record.  The percentage of those who answered that Japan and the U.S. had good mutual understanding was 2 points up among the general public, and 4 points up among opinion leaders since last year.  
  2. Japan continues to be the country most often selected by Americans as the most important Asian partner to the U.S. Although the study shows 5 points decline in the rate among the general public (43%) since last year, it shows 1 point increase among opinion leaders (54%). Apart from Japan, China marked the same record as last year (34%: general public, 38%: opinion leaders), and Russia marked a 2-point increase among the general public (10%) and same as last year among the opinion leaders (5%).
  3. With regard to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, strong support for the Japan-U.S. security arrangements was reconfirmed both among the general public and opinion leaders, even though affirmative answers were slightly down compared with last year.  The percentage of those who answered that the Security Treaty “should be maintained” was 78% among the general public and 87% among opinion leaders.
  4. The perception of Japan’s attributes was surveyed only among the general public this year.  Positive images get high points, which is the same trend as last year: Japan is viewed as “a country with great traditions and culture” (92%); “a country with a strong economy and high technology” (91%); “a country with beautiful nature” (80%); “a peaceful country” (77%); “a country which has a strong potential for growth” (76%).
  5. As in the last year, the question of whether Japan should be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was surveyed among opinion leaders.  Almost half of the respondents (49%), which is similar to those reported in 2007 (52%), answered affirmatively.
  6. The results of this survey are attached to this press release.