Opinion Poll: Image of Japan in Five European Countries

June 15, 2016

 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned German company Infratest dimap to conduct an opinion poll on the image of Japan in five European countries (the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, and Poland) from October 27 to November 2, 2015 (the survey consisted of telephone interviews with 2,500 voters who are 18 or older in each country). The overview of the poll is as follows
  1. Regarding relations with Japan, about 80% of respondents from the five countries replied that they are "friendly" or "somewhat friendly" and 77% answered that Japan is "reliable" or "somewhat reliable." These are the highest scores among Asian countries from the G20 and indicate that a positive image of relations with Japan has taken hold in major European countries. Furthermore, results for the most reliable country from the G20 were the United States (22%), Canada (16%), France (12%), Germany (11%), and Japan (9%). Japan held the position of the most reliable among Asian countries.
  2. As to whether each G20 country represented an important partner to the respondent's country, the "important partner" rankings were the United States (84%), France (81%), Germany (79%), the United Kingdom (79%), and Japan (72%). These results showed that respondents considered Japan to be the most important partner among Asian countries. For the question concerning whether a country could become an important partner in the future, the ranks for affirmative answers were the United States (83%), the United Kingdom and France (81%), and Japan (80%). Japan obtained a fourth-place assessment.
  3. Regarding Japan's image, respondents showed strong interest in traditional culture and economics with "a country with great tradition and culture" in first place (93%) and "a country with a strong economy and advanced technology" in second place (90%). Third-place (75%) was "a country that has followed the path of a peaceful nation after the war" and "a country with beautiful nature." Leading responses of what to know better about Japan were "culture (traditional culture, pop culture, and Japanese food)" (73%), "history" (70%), "tourism" (66%), "science and technology" (65%), and "politics, foreign policy, and security" (64%).
  4. Regarding the path that Japan has followed as a peace-loving nation for the past 70 years since the end of World War II, 83% responded "highly favorable" or "somewhat favorable."
  5. Overall responses to the question of whether "the European Union should be more involved in security issues in the East China Sea and the South China Sea" were "should be more involved" at 50%, "should maintain current involvement" at 32%, and "should reduce involvement" at 6%.
  6. Asked about "interest in learning a foreign language," 57% of all respondents in the five countries replied that they "have an interest." The rankings by interest as a language to learn (covering eight languages other than English with multiple responses allowed) were Spanish (64%), French (53%), German (47%), Japanese (46%), Chinese (36%), Korean (14%), Arabic (8%) and Russian (7%). Japanese received the highest interest among non-European languages. Leading reasons given for interest in Japanese were "to understand Japanese culture and lifestyle" (91%), "to visit Japan" (90%), "to enjoy Japanese content" (72%), and "it seems useful" (72%). The respondents also ranked the United States (83%) as the country which would be their important partner in the future, followed by the United Kingdom (81%), France (81%) and Japan (80%) which is quite positively evaluated.