Image of Japan Study in Mongolia (Overview)

August 2005

The Image of Japan Study was conducted in Mongolia from October to December 2004. The main points of the study are as follows, and the results of the study (excerpt) will be attached.

This is the first public opinion study conducted by Japan in Mongolia.

1. Results Overview

Japan and Mongolia established diplomatic relations in 1972, but since Mongolia at the time was a socialist country that faithfully maintained the pro-Soviet course, the differences in political systems between the two countries did not allow closer bilateral relations to be developed. However, as Mongolia became liberalized, relations between Japan and Mongolia started to develop dramatically in numerous fields on the basis of mutual efforts to establish relations, sense of ethnic affinity, and vigorous economic cooperation from Japan with a view to Mongolia's democratization and transition to market economy.

In the results of this study, Japan ranked high in all of the following categories: "country I like," "country that I would like to visit," and "country with which Mongolia should be friendly." Over seventy percent of respondents said they felt a sense of affinity toward Japan as a country. Moreover, the respondents' evaluation of the current state of bilateral relations and future prospects were positive in all fields—political, economic and cultural, thereby indicating an extremely high sense of affinity toward Japan.

Over 90% of respondents gave a positive evaluation of economic cooperation, which Japan has been providing to Mongolia as a top donor since Mongolia's democratization. Japan came up most often among respondents as an example of a country that has been providing assistance to Mongolia. This study found that Japan's presence has been thoroughly established through economic cooperation, and that Japan's efforts to date with respect to economic cooperation has spread among the general public.

It can be considered that the high sense of affinity toward Japan demonstrated by this study, despite the fact that there was a time when anti-Japanese education was conducted during the socialist period, is due to the sense of ethnic affinity as well as the result of Japan's diligent and sincere efforts to provide assistance aimed at Mongolia's democratization and transition to market economy since Mongolia began democratization. Japan needs to continue striving to maintain and promote a sound sense toward Japan in Mongolia as a valuable, pro-Japan country in Asia.

2. Overview of Survey

(1) Implementing agency: Social Research Center, National University of Mongolia
(2) Period of implementation: October-December 2004
(3) Regions where the survey was implemented and number of people surveyed:
(a) Regions where the survey was implemented: 11 regions as follows
Ulaanbaatar (capital of Mongolia: six locations), Erdenet (regional industrial city), Dornod Prefecture (eastern region), Omnogov? Prefecture (southern region), Hovd Prefecture (western region), Selenge Prefecture (northern region)
(b) Number of people surveyed: 2,000 (of which 439 people were asked additional questions as "opinion leaders")
(4) Form of implementation: Interview survey

3. Specific Findings

(1) Perception of Japan (Q1-Q6)Acrobat

  • Among various countries, Japan ranked second following the US as a country that respondents said they "like the most" (33.4%) and as a country that people "would very much like to visit" (31.8%). Japan was cited by 37.4% of respondents as a "country with which Mongolia should be friendliest," which is the highest among various countries.
  • In response to a question about their sense of affinity toward Japan, a total of 72.8% of respondents said they felt either "a very close sense of affinity" and "somewhat of a sense of affinity."
  • As for the impression that people have of Japan, the highest percentage of respondents cited "a country with great economic and technological capability," followed by "a country with a rich tradition and culture" and "a country with beautiful nature."
  • In regard to characteristics of Japanese people, although many respondents said they have positive impressions such as "studious" and "polite," these responses were followed by other impressions such as "submissive" and negative ones such as "calculating."

(2) Japan-Mongolia relations (Q7-Q11)Acrobat

  • In response to a question on the evaluation of Japan-Mongolia relations, a total of 59.3% said either "very good" or "generally good" regarding political relations, 64.1% for economic relations, 71.8% for cultural relations and 73.1% with respect to economic cooperation.
  • In response to the question, "Do you consider Japan as a dependable ally or friend?" 50.0% responded positively (5.2% responded negatively). Approximately 60% gave "economic and technical cooperation" as the reason for their response.
  • 65% of respondents said they thought Japan-Mongolia relations would further improve in the future.
  • When asked about the "Nomonhan Incident," 41.7% of respondents said that "it is history," while 29.6% said they "did not know." These figures indicate that there is little resentment toward Japan regarding this incident.
  • When asked about whether or not they knew about the existence of "Japanese detainees in Mongolia after the Second World War," 44.2% of respondents said they did. Regarding the reason why this occurred (detainment by the Soviet Union), 49.2% of respondents answered correctly.

(3) Economy, culture (Q12-Q17)Acrobat

  • In response to a question on the evaluation of Japan's assistance, a total of 93.6% said it was "very helpful" or "somewhat helpful."
  • Japan came up most often (46.6%) as the country that has put the most energy into providing assistance to Mongolia. The most frequently cited reason among respondents why was that "we often hear about it in the media," (35.6%) shedding light on the importance of public relations activities.
  • 89% of respondents said they thought Japan was an attractive place to visit. Many respondents gave "high technology and high-technology products," "Japanese cuisine" and "natural environment" as reasons why they thought so.
  • Among respondents, 14.2% said they had experience learning the Japanese language. Of those who had no such experience, 57.5% said they were interesting in learning the Japanese language. Hence it is clear that there is strong interest in learning the Japanese language.
  • The highest percentage of respondents gave "sports and martial arts" (21.5%) as the field of Japanese culture in which they were interested. Many cited Kaiou and Takanohana as examples of famous people that they liked.

(4) Japan's future and international contribution (Q18-Q19)Acrobat

  • In regard to Japan's future, respondents highly evaluated Japan's economy and technology, followed by its contribution to the peace and stability of the world. Concerns over nuclear armament and Japan becoming a military power were minimal.
  • As for fields to which Japan should provide international contribution, expectations were highest for scientific and technological development. A high percentage of respondents cited expectations for economic cooperation to developing countries, tackling global tasks and strengthening collaboration in Asia.

(5) Sources of information concerning Japan (Q20)Acrobat

  • Respondents cited "television" and "newspapers and magazines" as the main sources of information.

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