Opinion Poll: 2014 U.S. Image of Japan
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs contracted with Nielsen Consumer Insights Inc. to conduct an opinion poll by Harris Poll on the image of Japan in the United States from July 31 to August 21, 2014. 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 1,003 adults aged 18 and over who live in the United States. For the “opinion leaders” group, telephone interviews were carried out with 200 people in leading positions in the fields of government, business, academia, the news 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 a 95% level of confidence).
1. The percentage who perceived Japan to be a dependable partner was 73% (vs. 76% in 2013) among the general public and was 90% (vs. 93% in 2013) among opinion leaders, high figures similar to the last year’s poll. The 67% (vs. 58% in 2013) of the general public and the 70% (vs. 86% in 2013) of the 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 or fair understanding of each other was 35% (vs. 37% in 2013) among the general public, and 32% (vs. 39% in 2013) among the opinion leaders.
2. As for which 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 46% (vs. 35% in 2013) in the first place followed by those who chose China which was 26% (vs. 39% in 2013). Among opinion leaders, Japan was the first place with 58% (vs. 39% in 2013) and China came in the second place with 24% (vs. 43% in 2013). Japan has reappeared in the first place as the most important partner of the U.S. among both general public as well as opinion leaders this year since the time when it was the case last in 2009.
3. With regard to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the percentage who answered that the U.S. should maintain the current Japan-U.S. Security Treat was 81% (vs. 67% in 2013) among the general public and 85% (vs. 77% in 2013) among the opinion leaders. The survey result this year indicates greater support to the Treaty compared to last year. 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 extent” or to “a moderate amount” was 77% (vs. 81% in 2013) among the general public and 89% (vs. 87% in 2013) 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 83% (vs. 88% in 2013) among the general public and 88% (vs. 88% in 2013) among the opinion leaders. Therefore, the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty system is highly evaluated overall. With regard to whether or not Japan should increase its self-defense capability, 57% (vs. 64% in 2013) of the general public answered “Yes, should increase”, while for the opinion leaders the figure was 65% (vs. 72% in 2013).
4. The answers towards newly set question to ask if Japan and the U.S. should closely cooperate for peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region illustrate 91% positive among the general public and 97% also the case for among the opinion leaders. The result for another newly launched question to examine if Japan should play a more proactive role for peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region also shows that the majority of the audience with 81% among the general public and 88% among the opinion leaders responded that Japan should play a more proactive role.
5. With regard to the image describing Japan (multiple answers allowed; targeting the general public only), Japan was viewed as “a country that has great tradition and culture” (92%); “a country with a strong economy and high-technology” (86%); “a country that has consistently been a peace-loving nation since the end of World War II” (81%); and “a country with beautiful nature” (81%). With respect to the areas that the public are interested in regarding Japanese culture, “Japanese food” (68%); “Sumo or Japanese martial arts such as Karate, Judo, or Kendo” (51%); and “Flower arrangement” (48%) were among the most selected answers.
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), 91% responded that Japan should “promote technological cooperation in areas such as clean energy and high-speed railway systems,” followed by 88% positive towards Japan should “cooperate in negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” and then by 61% towards cooperation to “develop natural resources such as shale gas.”
*The previous opinion poll was conducted by Harris Poll under the contract with Harris Interactive Inc. between July 26 and August 23, 2013. Harris Poll is now under Nielsen Consumer Insights Inc. which acquired Harris Interactive Inc.