Opinion Poll: 2010 U.S Image of Japan

June 1, 2010

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned the Gallup Organization to conduct an opinion poll on the image of Japan in the United States of America from February to March 2010. 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 1,201 citizens aged 18 and over who live in the continental United States. For the “opinion leaders” group, telephone interviews were carried out with 202 people in leading positions in the fields of government, business, academics, mass media, religion, and labor unions. (The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3% for  the “general public” group and plus or minus 7%  for the “opinion leaders” group, at the 95% level of confidence.)

  1. The percentage who perceived Japan as a dependable ally was 79% among the general public and was 90% among opinion leaders, high figures similar to the last year’s poll. 72% of the general public and 86% of opinion leaders viewed cooperation between Japan and the U.S. as “excellent” or “good.” In addition, the percentage of those who agreed that the Japanese and American people had a good understanding of each other was 43% among the general public, and 32% among opinion leaders.

  2. As for what country is the most important partner of the U.S. in Asia, the percentage of the general public that chose  Japan as the most important partner was 44% the same as the percentage for China. Among opinion leaders, Japan came in at second with 36%, following China’s 56%.

  3. With regard to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the percentage of those who answered that the Treaty “should be maintained” was 90% among the general public and 86% among opinion leaders. These figures have stayed at a high level since this survey had begun to be commissioned. The percentage who answered that the Treaty contributes to stability and peace in the area either “to a great deal” or “to a moderate amount” was 81% among the general public and 85% among opinion leaders. The percentage of those who answered that the Treaty was “very important” or “somewhat important” for the U.S. in terms of its own security was 88% among general public and 89% among opinion leaders. Thus, the Japan-U.S. security system was highly appreciated in whole.

  4. With regard to the perception of Japan’s attributes (surveyed only among the general public), Japan was viewed as “a country with great traditions and culture” (97%); “a country with a strong economy and high technology” (90%); “a country with beautiful nature” (85%); and “a country which launches new cultures such as animation, fashion, and cuisine” (82%). With respect to areas that the public would like to know more about, “tradition and culture” (25%), “politics, diplomacy, and security” (17%); “pop culture” (13%); and “the economy and trade” (9%) were among the most selected answers.

  5. As for the adoption of Japan’s high-speed railway system in the United States, approximately half of opinion leaders (49%) were of the view that Japanese technology should be adopted. With regard to the question “Do you think that the U.S. and Japan should or should not conclude a Free Trade Agreement (FTA)?", 54% of the general public and 64% of opinion leaders respectively responded in the affirmative.