Opinion Poll: 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 in March 2017. This poll has been conducted almost every year since 1960. For the “general public” group, telephone interviews were carried out with 1,005 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.
1. The percentage who perceived Japan to be a dependable partner was 82% (vs. 73% in JFY2015) among the general public and was 86% (vs. 83% in JFY2015) among opinion leaders, high figures similar to the last year’s poll. The poll showed 62% (same in JFY2015) of the general public and 58% (vs. 75% in JFY2015) 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 43% (vs. 36% in JFY2015) among the general public, and 33% (vs. 38% in JFY2015) among the opinion leaders.
2. As for which country is the most important partner of the U.S. in Asia, as with last year, Australia and India were added to the list choices from two years ago (Japan, China, Korea, and Russia) for both the general public and opinion leaders. The percentage of the general public who answered Japan was the largest at 33% (vs. 27% in JFY2015), followed by China at 20% (vs. 25% in JFY2015). As for the opinion leaders, 34% (vs. 48% in JFY 2015) answered Japan, followed 21 % who answered China (vs.19% in FJY2015).
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 Treaty was 82% (vs. 81% in JFY2015) among the general public and 86% (vs. 84% in JFY2015) among the opinion leaders, receiving over 80% support just as last fiscal 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 83% (vs. 77% in JFY 2015) among the general public and 88% (vs. 86% in JFY2015) 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 87% (vs. 85% in JFY2015) among the general public and 86% (vs. 84% in JFY2015) 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, 61% (vs. 59% in JFY2015) of the general public answered “Yes, should increase”, while for the opinion leaders the figure was 66% (vs. 65% in JFY2015).
4. As for whether Japan and the U.S. should closely cooperate for peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region, majority of the respondents, 91% (vs. 93% in JFY2015) of the general public and 96% (vs. 100% in JFY2015) of the opinion leaders, favors the idea. In addition, majority of the audience, with 80% (vs. 83% in JFY 2015) among the general public and 85% (vs. 88% in JFY2015) 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” (95%); “a country with a strong economy and high-technology” (87%); “a country with beautiful nature” (84%); “a country that has consistently been a peace-loving nation since the end of World War II” (82%); and “a country that introduces new cultures to the world” (79%). With respect to the areas of Japanese culture that the public are interested in, “Japanese food” (70%); “Architecture” (66%); “Lifestyles and Way of thinking” (65%); “Sumo or Japanese martial arts such as Karate, Judo, or Kendo” (50%); and “Flower arrangement” (46%) 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), 86% responded that Japan should “promote technological cooperation in areas such as clean energy and high-speed railway systems,” followed by 57% who said Japan should “cooperate in negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” and 57% who said cooperation to “develop natural resources such as shale gas.”