Record 88% of Japanese ‘feel friendly’ to US, survey finds

The percentage of Japanese who “feel friendly” towards the United States has reached a record high of 88.5%, a Japanese government poll showed on Friday, reflecting the strengthening of ties between allies in areas such as security. and the economy.

The figure is up 4.5 percentage points from the previous survey a year ago, according to the Cabinet Office survey, which also found that around 85% of respondents consider the relationship between the Japan and China as “not good” or “not so good”.

Similar surveys on foreign affairs have been conducted since 1975. The question on friendship with the United States first appeared in the 1978 survey.

The latest survey also showed that a record 91.3% rate the current relationship between Japan and the United States as “fairly good” or “good”, with up to 98.2% saying that relations bilateral are “fairly large” or “large”, also a record.

The results reflect a positive state of bilateral relations, a Foreign Ministry official told reporters.

“The Japanese government has further strengthened its alliance with the United States and its collaboration with the administration of (US President Joe) Biden in various fields such as national security, economy and people-to-people interaction,” he said. added the manager. .

The Cabinet Office has warned that the latest data, which covered the period from September 30 to November 7, cannot be directly compared with figures from before the 2020 survey, as the survey method has changed from interviews to person to mail inquiries in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2021 survey, meanwhile, found that 79% of Japanese say they “don’t feel friendly” towards China, up from 77.3% a year earlier and nearly four times the rate of respondents. who said they “felt friendly”. The latter group accounted for 20.6%, down from 22% previously.

Those who said that relations between Tokyo and Beijing are “not good” or “not so good” came in at 85.2%, down from 81.8%. 14.5% said it was “fairly good” or “good,” compared to 17.1%.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in during a meeting in Chengdu, China in December 2019. | KYODO

The official said the two neighbors have “various outstanding issues that have caught the attention of the Japanese people,” particularly the dispute over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands claimed by China and human rights issues. man in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang region in the far west of China.

On South Korea, the survey showed 62.4% said they “don’t feel friendly” towards the country, down slightly from 64.5%, while those who feel friendly accounted for 37%, compared to 34.9%.

The share of respondents who said Tokyo-Seoul ties are not important was 37.4%, down 3 percentage points from the record set in the previous survey.

Regarding cultural exchanges with other countries, 40.1% said that Japan should prioritize the promotion of its pop culture represented by anime and manga, compared to 25.3% who said that the culture traditional, such as ikebana flower arrangements, tea ceremony and kabuki, in one multiple-response question.

The survey interviewed 3,000 adults, 56.7% of whom gave valid answers.

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