Opinion Poll: Image of Japan in the Central Asia Region
April 15, 2016
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan conducted an opinion poll on the image of Japan in four countries in Central Asia (the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Republic of Tajikistan), commissioning to the Business Information, Social and Marketing Research Center (BISAM) Central Asia, from December 2015 through January this year. An overview of the poll is as follows.
1. Regarding the relationships with Japan, 89% of respondents answered “friendly” or “somewhat friendly,” up from 85% the previous year, and thus a positive image of Japan is spreading. Asked which countries are currently important partners for each of Central Asian countries, 75% answered Russia, followed by China (49%) and Japan (25%), among G20 member countries (multiple answer).
2. The percentage of people who responded that Japan is “reliable” or “somewhat reliable” rose to 63%, and thus Japan was the second most reliable country after Russia and the most reliable country in Asia. Also, the results showed that, as in the previous year, Japan was perceived to have a high level of reliability in Central Asian countries.
3. As for the question of whether the respondents think that bilateral relations will further develop going forward as the result of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s tour of five Central Asian countries in October last year, 73% answered that they “think that relations will develop significantly” or “think that relations will develop somewhat.” Thus, the tour of five Central Asian countries by Prime Minister Abe was given a favorable evaluation.
4. The path that Japan has followed as a peace-loving nation for the past 70 years since the end of World War II was given a high evaluation, with 75% of respondents “highly praising” or “somewhat praising” this. In regard to the question of whether the respondents think that Japan’s development of seamless security legislation under Prime Minister Abe’s policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” will contribute to the peace and stability of the international community, 78% answered that “it will likely contribute” or “it will somewhat contribute.”
5. Regarding their image of Japan, the most popular answers across the four countries overall were “a country with a strong economy and advanced technology” (63%), and “a country with great tradition and culture” (35%), indicating that Japan is viewed as a country with advanced technological capability and rich tradition. Furthermore, in response to a question regarding which aspects of Japan are of interest, the principal responses were “culture (traditional culture, pop culture, and Japanese food)” (34%), “science and technology” (23%), and “economy” (20%), confirming that respondents’ image of Japan generally matched their areas of interest (multiple answer).
- Surveys of 300 people aged 18 or over in each country (1,200 people in total) were carried out, mainly by telephone. Some face-to-face interviews were used in rural areas in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
- As in the previous year, the survey in the Republic of Turkmenistan in the Central Asia region was not conducted due to local situations.