Opinion Poll: Australian Image of Japan

May 27, 2010

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned a local private research agency to conduct an opinion poll on the image of Japan in Australia from November 10 to 14, 2009 (compilation of the results was completed in March 2010). This poll is the tenth in a series of similar opinion polls conducted in Australia (the previous poll was conducted in March 2006). A summary of the results is as follows.


1. General views

  • In this poll, approximately 50% rated Japan-Australia relations as “excellent” or “good.” 25% answered that Japan and Australia should be closer in every respect , 37% answered that the current relationship should be maintained, and 30% answered that there should be more distance  between the two countries (the responses from the previous poll were 27%, 66%, and 1%, respectively).
  • In response to the question of whether Japan is a reliable friend of Australia, 60% said “no” while 20% said “yes.” This is in direct contrast to the previous poll, in which approximately 10% answered “no” and 60% answered “yes.” In response to the question of whether Japan is culturally  different and  difficult to understand, the number of people agreeing or strongly agreeing increased to approximately 80% from approximately 60% in the previous poll.
  • As to the question of whether Japan is active enough in world affairs, given its economic size, 51% of the respondents answered negatively (in the previous poll, 58% answered affirmatively).
  • Regarding the whaling issue, 59% either disagreed or strongly disagreed to whaling off Japan. There were many anti-whaling responses for each question (no questions about whaling were asked in the previous poll).


2. Other Points

  • Regarding their image of Japan, the majority answered that Japan is “a country that has rich traditions and culture,” “a country with an economic strength and advanced technology,” and “a peace-loving country.” Regarding the personality of Japanese people, the majority answered that they are “traditional and cultured,” “hard-working,” “intelligent,” “polite,” and “efficient.”
  • Regarding areas of interest related to Japan, the fields of “culture, tradition, history, and religion,” “Japanese people and their lifestyles,” “tourism information,” and “Japanese food” occupied high positions, while interest in “politics, diplomacy, and security" was comparatively low. In response to Japan-related events that they would like to attend, “Japanese food,” “tourism,” and “traditional arts and culture” gained the most answers.
  • Regarding which countries they felt positive toward, the answers were New Zealand (66%), Canada (60%), Britain (58%), the United States (43%), and Japan (40%). Japan was the top choice among the Asian countries.
  • In response to the question of which countries are very important or important to maintain and strengthen friendly relations with Australia, the percentage of people who answered “Japan” was 55%, after Britain, the U.S., New Zealand, Canada, and China.
  • Regarding World War II and Japanese people, 88% answered that either Japan’s involvement in the war was not important, or that they nonetheless have a positive feeling of Japan.
  • Regarding the fields in which Japan and Australia should develop their future relationship, “the environment” was the top response. Regarding the Japan-Australia trade relationship, less than 10% were aware of the fact that Japan is the largest export market for Australia.
  • Regarding the fields in which Japan should play a leading role, the most common answers were “development of science and technology” (69%), “expansion of political role for solving international conflicts” (57%), and “promotion of  nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation” (56%).
  • Regarding whether Japan should become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, 43% responded “yes” and 38% responded “no.”

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