Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary Takeshi Osuga
Wednesday, May 22, 2019, 4:32 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(1) FY2018 Opinion Polls on Japan
Mr. Takeshi Osuga, Foreign Press Secretary: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) commissions public opinion polls on the image of Japan every year in order to clarify the views of people from countries and regions around the world regarding bilateral relations, Japan’s foreign policy, and more. The FY2018 polls were conducted from January to February this year in the United States, Canada, five countries in Europe, Russia, and four countries in Central Asia, and the results of each poll were compiled.
I would like to give a brief introduction of a portion of the results.
Firstly, an annual poll has been conducted in the United States since 1960, and a poll of opinion leaders has been conducted in addition to that of the general public since 1993. In the opinion polls this time as well, the survey found a favorable assessment of the Japan-U.S. relations. The percentage who perceived Japan as a reliable partner was 82% among the general public and was 90% among opinion leaders. In addition, as it was the case last year, Japan topped response to the question, “Which country is the most important partner of the U.S. in Asia?”
In regard to Canada, this is the first poll in 10 years, and about 70% of the public answered positively in regard to the Japan-Canada relations and trust in Japan. In addition, in regard to the role Japan plays for stabilization and growth of the world economy and Japan’s role for maintaining global peace and stabilizing international order, there were positive assessments of 65% and 77% respectively.
In Europe, opinion polls were conducted in the five countries, namely the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Hungary. About 70% of all respondents answered positively in regard to their country’s relations with Japan and their trust on Japan. 78% of the respondents answered that they appreciate the pathway of Japan as a peace-loving nation for the past 70 years since the end of the World War II. To add, this is the first poll in two years in the three countries of the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.
This was the first poll in Russia in three years. 71% of people responded that there are friendly relations with Japan, and 79% of the respondents appreciated that Japan has consistently followed the path of a peace-loving nation for the past 70 years since the end of the World War II. In addition, in regard to the role Japan plays for stabilization and growth of the world economy and Japan’s role for maintaining global peace and stabilizing international order, there were positive assessments of 75% and 71% respectively.
Lastly, in Central Asia, opinion polls were conducted for the first time in three years in four countries, namely Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan. The percentage of responses saying that their country has friendly relations with Japan amounted to 64%. In addition, Foreign Minister Kono visited Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, four days ago for the Seventh Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the “Central Asia plus Japan” Dialogue, and 79% of the respondents answered that the Foreign Ministers’ Meetings, symposiums, and more held within the framework of the Dialogue since 2004 have been contributing to the development of regional cooperation.
The details of the opinion polls this time are planned to be released later on the MOFA website.
Foreign Press Secretary Osuga: I would like to provide several notifications in relation to TICAD. Firstly, on the weekend of May 25-26, the second “Ima no Africa”, a TICAD partner project, will be held at Yokohama's Zou-no-Hana Park,organized by the African Diplomatic Corps in Tokyo. Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado plans to attend the opening ceremony on May 25, as well as high level officials from the Government of Japan, Mayor Hayashi of Yokohama City, which is a joint sponsor of the event, and others.
This event aims to deepen the amicable relations between Japan and Africa toward TICAD7, and it is planned to have the embassies in Japan of 38 African countries set up booths, cultural introductions, and exhibits by Japanese companies with the view of strengthening economic relations.
Next, this Monday on May 20, on the occasion of exactly 100 days to go until TICAD7 in Yokohama City on August 28, HELLO KITTY was appointed as “Special Envoy for TICAD” to actively convey domestically and internationally Japan’s activities concerning development in Africa.
Thirdly, in the afternoon today, the second “Cooperation Conference on TICAD 7 between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Citizen’s Network for TICAD” was held at MOFA. MOFA officials and those concerned from the civil society attended this conference and wide-ranging exchanges of views and information-sharing activities took place toward TICAD7. We will continue to build momentum toward TICAD7 while cooperating with the African Diplomatic Corps, civil society, and companies.
Case of Detainment of a Japanese National in Iraq
Asahi Shimbun, Ono: There are reports today that a man who is thought to have a Japanese nationality has been detained in Iraq, based on allegations of participation in terrorism. Can you please tell us the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ understanding of the facts on the matter and whether he has a Japanese nationality?
Foreign Press Secretary Osuga: I am aware of the reports, but I would like to refrain from commenting on this as this is a matter concerning personal information.