Opinion Poll on Japan

March 20, 2019

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan contracted with Nielsen Consumer Insights Inc. to conduct an opinion poll with telephone interview on the image of Japan in the United States in March 2018 (such polls have been conducted since 1960). In the "general public" division, 1,057 adults responded. In the "opinion leaders" division, 200 people in leading positions in the fields of government, business, academia, the news media, religion, and labor unions responded.

  1. The percentage who perceived Japan as a reliable partner was 87% (vs. 82% in 2016) among the general public and was 86% (same in 2016) among opinion leaders, as high figures as the last year's poll. The poll showed 69% (vs. 62% in 2016) of the general public and 66% (vs. 58% in 2016) of the opinion leaders viewed cooperation between Japan and the U.S. as "excellent" or "good".
  2. As for the question "which country is the most important partner of the U.S. in Asia", the percentage of Japan was the largest at 33% (same in 2016) among the general public and at 33% (vs. 34% in 2016) among the opinion leaders.
  3. With regard to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the percentage of the answer that the U.S. should maintain the current Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is 68% (vs. 82% in 2016) among the general public and 87% (vs. 86% in 2016) among the opinion leaders. As for the percentage of those who answered that the Treaty contributes to the peace and security of Japan and in the Far East either to "a great deal" or to "a moderate amount" was 80% (vs. 83% in 2016) among the general public and 89% (vs. 88% in 2016) among the opinion leaders. The percentage of those who answered that the Treaty is "very important" or "somewhat important" for the U.S. in terms of its own security was 90% (vs. 87% in 2016) among the general public and 92% (vs. 86% in 2016) among the opinion leaders. Therefore, the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty system is highly appreciated overall.
  4. As for whether Japan and the U.S. should closely cooperate for peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region, the majority of the respondents, 95% (vs. 91% in 2016) of the general public and 99% (vs. 96% in 2016) of the opinion leaders, favors the idea. In addition, the majority of the audience, with 63% (vs. 80% in 2016) among the general public and 87% (vs. 85% in 2016) among the opinion leaders responds that Japan should play a more proactive role.
  5. With regard to the image describing Japan (multiple answers allowed; targeting only the general public), five most selected answers are:
    • a country that has great tradition and culture (71%)
    • a country with a strong economy and high-technology (61%)
    • a country with beautiful nature (58%)
    • a country that disseminates new cultural concepts to the world in areas such as animation, fashion, and cuisine (47%)
    • a country with a high standard of living (39%).
    With respect to the areas of Japanese culture that the public are interested in, five most selected answers are:
    • Japanese food (57%)
    • Japanese lifestyles and thought (43%)
    • Bonsai (34%)
    • Architecture (32%)
    • Tea ceremony (27%)
  6. Concerning what policy Japan should focus on in order to deepen economic ties between Japan and the U.S. (survey targeted only the opinion leaders), 94% responded that Japan should "promote cooperation in trade and investment," followed by 91% who said Japan should "promote technological cooperation such as clean energy and high-speed railway systems," and 52% who said cooperation to "develop natural resources such as shale gas."

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