Asahi Shimbun Special Public Opinion Poll (04/07/14)

Key Issues  
  • Amending Article 9 of the Constitution
  • Japan's Self-Defense Forces
  • Support for Japan's Collective Defense
 
Date Released

April 7th, 2014

Methodology

Surveys conducted in Japan: This survey was conducted using the “mailing method,” selecting 3000 possible participants nationwide. Those selected for the survey sample were chosen using stratified random sampling. Selecting 339 election districts nationwide, researchers chose 9 people on average from the voter registration list from each district. The survey was sent out on February 12th, received 2119 responses by March 24th. The total number of valid responses was 2045 excluding such responses that contain a lot of blanks or states person other than the target answered the survey; therefore the response rate was 68%. The men and women ratio was 47% (men), 51% (women) and not mentioned (2%). The ratio for each generation was 8% (twenties), 16% (thirties), 16% (forties), 15% (fifties), 20% (sixties), 17% (seventies), 7% (over eighties) and not mentioned (1%).

China: Commissioning to the Chinese research firm, this survey was conducted in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Chengdu from February 21st to March 3rd, targeting both men and women. The total number of responses was 1000.

Korea: Commissioning to the American research firm, this survey was conducted nationwide from February 18th to February 27th, targeting over 18-year-old men and women by interview method. The total number of responses was 1009.

(Numbers indicated are in percentages. Some of the questions and answers are omitted. Questions with ◆, indicate those were asked to all the participants. Questions with ◇, indicate follow up questions that were asked to corresponding respondents and the numbers within 〈 〉 represent its ration to all the participants. Unless otherwise noted, it was conducted on a multiple-choice test. All the answers without the numbers from China and Korea were collected in Japan. Marks, ( ), within both questions and multiple questions represent it is related to China and Korea.

Survey

Q1. ◆Do you support the Abe Cabinet?

Yes 52
No 39

 

Q2. ◆Which party do you currently support?

Liberal Democratic Party 38
Democratic Party Japan 5
Japan Restoration Party 3
New Komeito 4
Your Party 1
Yuinotoh Party 1
Japan Communist Party 3
People’s Life Party 0
Social Democratic Party 1
Green Wind 0
New Party Daichi 0
New Renaissance Party 0
Other 0
Do not support a particular party 41
No answer/Do not know 3

 

Q3. ◆Which of the following policies do you expect the Abe cabinet to be more willing to tackle with?

Economy/Employment 73
Improvement in social security 62
Assistance for child care and education 37
Women’s social advancement 6
Consumption tax hike 6
Earthquake reconstruction and protection against disasters 39
Resuming Nuclear Power plant operation 6
Participation in TPP 4
Improvement in diplomatic relations 28
Authorization for collective defense 6

 

Q4. ◆Do you think the Japanese (Chinese, Korean) politics will improve, deteriorate or nothing will change?

Japan China Korea
Improve 20 72 37
Deteriorate 23 15 31
Nothing will change 53 12 31

 

Q5. ◆To what extent do you think your opinions are reflected on the actual politics?

Japan China Korea
Fully reflected 1 16 1
Partly reflected 14 56 18
Not so much reflected 51 21 48
Not reflected at all 32 6 32

 

Q6. ◆To what extent do you think each individual is cherished under the current Japanese society?

Very cherished 3
Partly cherished 36
Not so much cherished 47
Not cherished at all 13

 

Q7. ◆Do you think such an idea that cherish each person’s individuality should be cherished is increasing, declining or there isn’t such a movement at all in the current Japanese society?

Increasing 14
Declining 31
Not changes 52

 

Q8. ◆The following sentences are extracts from Article 9 of the Constitution. (The actual text is omitted). Are you in favor or against the amendment to Article 9 of the Constitution?

In favor 29
Against 64

 

Q8.  a) (For those 29% who answered “in favor” in the previous question) Why do you support the amendment to Article 9?

Presence of SDF should be clarified 38 <11>
SDF should be authorized to be an official military 17 <5>
Reinforcement of US-Japan alliance and for the stability of East Asia 40 <12>

 

Q8.  b) (For those 64% who answered “against” in the previous question) Why do you oppose the amendment to Article 9?

Renunciation of war and military forces 49 <32>
No need for amendment for SDF’s mobility 32 <20>
Possible results in instability of East Asia 15 <10>

 

Q9. ◆Japan has been keeping the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, which states Japan shall neither possess or manufacture nuclear weapons, nor shall it permit any country’s introduction into Japanese territory. Do you think this statement ought to be maintained or revised?

Maintained 82
Revised 13

 

Q10. ◆Although Japan has forbidden the export of military equipment to any foreign country, there is a tendency recently that the government authorizes such exports. Are you in favor or against the expansion of arm exports?

In favor 17
Against 77

 

Q11. ◆Please circle everything that you think the operation by the Self-Defense Forces should be permitted

Disaster relief in foreign countries 95
Transference of Japanese in danger 85
Participation in UN’s PKO activity 77
Refueling and provision of military equipment for U.S. army 17
Military cooperation with U.S. army in the front line 5

 

Q12. ◆Do you think Japan (China, Korea) should reinforce or curtail its defense (military) power?

Japan China Korea
Reinforcement 40 63 40
Curtailment 7 12 15
Keep the current power 49 24 44

 

Q13. ◆As to the overseas activities, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces operates such as disaster relief and technical and humanitarian assistance for the reconstruction in Iraq. Are you in favor or against such overseas activities by the Self-Defense Forces?

Japan China Korea
In favor 10 33
Against 86 64

 

Q14. ◆Are you in favor or against transforming the character of the Self-Defense Forces (Jieitai) into National Defense forces (Kokubougun), which indicates an authorization to be an official army, by amending Article 9?

In favor 25
Against 68

 

Q15. ◆Are you in favor or against maintaining the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty?

In favor 79
Against 11

 

Q16. ◆As for the relation between Japan and U.S. over the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which of the followings is closest to your opinion?

It is unfair because Japan isn’t obliged to defense U.S. territory although U.S. is obliged to defend Japan. 15
It is not unfair because Japan provide U.S. with its domestic lands for their military bases and huge amount of financial assistance for its stationing in Japan. 72

 

 

Q17. ◆This question is related to the (Japanese) collective defense. The collective defense for Japan is the right to take a military cooperation with its allies when their lands or armies are attacked by a third-party even if Japan is not attacked by them. According to the interpretation by the government, Japan is not allowed to take this right due to the restriction by the Constitution although Japan maintains this right. What do you think about the (Japanese) collective defense?

Japan China Korea
Maintain the position not to exercise collective defense 63 95 85
Authorize to take collective defense 29 2 12

 

Q17. ◇(For those 29% who answered “authorize to take collective defense”) What do you think is necessary to be allowed to exercise the collective defense?

Amend the Constitution 56 <17>
Reinterpretation by the government 40 <12>

 

Q17. ◇(For those 29% who answered “authorize to take collective defense”) Do you think it is necessary to obtain agreements from Japan’s neighbor countries to authorize the collective defense?

Necessary 49 <14>
Not necessary 46 <14>

 

Q18. ◆Do you think it is right or wrong in thinking that the alliance between Japan and U.S. would be weaken if the exercise of the collective defense by Japan remains forbidden.

Right 27
Wrong 67

 

Q19. ◆What kind of response do you think the Self-Defense Forces should take if U.S. requires the Self-defense Forces to cooperate with them provided that the exercise of the collective defense is authorized?

Military cooperation with U.S. 16
Stay away from the military operation by U.S. 71

 

Q20. ◆To what extent do you feel such anxiety that Japan might get involved in war if the exercise of the collective defense is authorized?

Greatly concerned 52
Partly concerned 36
Not so much worried 8
Not worried at all 1

 

Q21. ◆The Abe cabinet (in Japan) has a plan to deepen military cooperation with U.S. by considering the authorization to exercise the collective defense. Do you think such a movement recently taken by the Abe cabinet has a positive or negative effect on the stability and prosperity in East Asia.

Japan China Korea
Positive 29 3 9
Negative 60 94 88

 

Q22. ◆Do you think the military tensions in East Asia will be tightened by the Abe cabinet’s authorization to exercise the collective defense?

Japan China Korea
Military tensions would be further caused 65 91 78
Not causes any military tensions 29 5 21

 

Q23. ◆What are your thoughts on the future Japanese diplomacy?

Maintain the emphasis on U.S. 39
Attach an importance on China as much as U.S. 42

 

Q24. ◆Do you think Chinese both economic and military expansions brought positive or negative impacts on the stability and prosperity in East Asia?

Japan China Korea
Positive 12 86 38
Negative 79 12 57

 

Q25. ◆What kind of factors are you concerned about in threatening the peace in East Asia including Japan, Korea, China and South East Asia? (Each person was asked to choose 2 out of the followings)

Japan China Korea
Korean Peninsula 38 21 50
China/Taiwan affairs 12 13 4
Territorial dispute 63 36 58
Presence of U.S. army 5 34 6
Japanese defense forces 5 49 35
Chinese military power 48 19 15
International terrorism 13 13 19

 

Q26. ◆Which of the following countries is the threat for Japan (China, Korea)?

Japan China Korea
United States 5 42 4
Russia 1 3 0
Japan 42 20
China 55 10
Korea 2 2
North Korea 29 3 65
India 0 2 0
Vietnam 0 2 0
Others 0 0 0
None in particular 5 3 1

 

Q27. ◆What are your thoughts on the current Japanese Constitution as a whole?

Good Constitution 63
Not good content 27

 

Q28. ◆Do you think the current Constitution is required to be changed or not?

Need to be changed 44
No need to be changed 50

 

Q28. ◇(For those 44% who answered “need to be changed” in the previous question) Why do you think the revision is necessary? (Each person could choose up to 3)

Insufficiency in statement with regard to national defense 50 <22>
Unreflectingness of the Japanese national character on the Constitution due to the pressure by U.S. in the process of drafting. 36 <16>
Rise of the idea of egoism among the Japanese 13 <6>
Too much idea of welfare 5 <2>
For a desire to add new rights which are not currently stated 28 <12>
Problems in the parliamentary system 40 <17>
For improvement of the society 16 <7>
Already out of dated 46 <20>

 

Q28. ◇(For those 50% who answered “no need to be changed” in the previous question) Why do you think there is no need for the change? (Each person could choose up to 3)

Achievement of the peace 76 <38>
The current Constitution has already firmly established among the Japanese 40 <20>
Presence of the statement of respect for individual 36 <18>
Presence of the statement for the idea of welfare 11 <6>
Presence of the sufficient securing of rights 24 <12>
Could focus on economic development in the past in turn for the commitment to military field 27 <13>
Lack of problems that have to be changed 36 <18>
Not out of dated 4 <2>

 

Q29. ◆Article 96 of the Japanese Constitution states approval by the two thirds of the member of the Diet is required to propose the change of the Constitution and it also requires the approval by the majority of a nation based on the results of the referendum. Are you in favor or against easing this condition so that the approval by the majority of each of the House’s members can propose the change of the Constitution?

In favor 29
Against 63

 

Q30. ◆What are your thoughts on the opinion that Japan can not achieve the state of “the true independence” as long as the Constitution is fully revised?

Agree 19
Disagree 75

 

Q31. ◆Which of the following statements do you agree with more in order to establish a better state and circle one from the following statements.

Establishment of the system that doesn’t give the state freedom to do whatever they like 68
Strengthen both a nation’s responsibility and obligation to the state 27

 

Q32. ◆Do you think the patriotism should be equipped by education at school or it should be left to each individual?

It should be equipped at school 38
Should be left to each individual 55

 

Q33. ◆Do you think the Japanese should have more notion to contribute to the state or not?

Should have more notion of contribution 43
Shouldn’t have such a notion 49

 

Q34. ◆Do you have a positive or negative feeling towards Japan or not have a particular feeling?

Japan China Korea
Positive 11 4
Negative 74 67
Do not have a particular feeling 13 29

 

Q35. ◆Do you have a positive or negative feeling towards China or not have a particular feeling?

Japan China Korea
Positive 4 13
Negative 51 19
Do not have a particular feeling 43 68

 

Q36. ◆To what extent do you feel such a necessity that the Japan-China relation has to be remedied?

Japan China Korea
Heavily necessitated 26 31
Partly necessitated 54 54
Not so necessitated 14 10
Not at all 4 6

 

Q37. ◆In order to remedy the Japan-China relation, which of the followings do you think should be emphasized most?

Japan China Korea
Settlement of territorial dispute 31 42
Settlement of history issues 29 38
Deepening economic and cultural tie 36 19

 

Q38. ◆Do you have a positive or negative feeling towards Korea or not have a particular feeling?

Japan China Korea
Positive 8 48
Negative 34 19
Do not have a particular feeling 57 33

 

Q39. ◆To what extent do you feel such a necessity that the Japan-Korea relation has to me remedied?

Japan China Korea
Heavily necessitated 21 24
Partly necessitated 53 60
No so necessitated 18 11
Not at all 6 5

 

Q40. ◆In order to remedy the Japan-Korea relation, which of the followings do you think should be emphasized?

Japan China Korea
Settlement for territorial dispute 24 30
Settlement for history issues 38 65
Deepening economic and cultural tie 32 5

 

Q41. ◆For the future Japanese (Chinese, Korean) economy, which of the following countries and regions do you think will be the most important?

Japan China Korea
United States 30 38 45
Japan 14 3
China 25 43
Korea 2 3
Russia 4 13 0
East Asia 32 12 4
Europe 2 16 3
The other countries and regions 4 4 2

 

Q42. ◆As for the war Japan experienced and ended in 1945, which of the followings is the closest to your opinion?

Not preferable because Japan invaded Asia 37
Not preferable because Japan was devastated 12
War was unavoidable considering the international situation at that time 42

 

Q43. ◆Do you think the past history issues such as the war between Japan and China and the colonial rule over Korea by Japan (survey on the war between Japan and China was conducted in China/survey on colonial rule over Korea by Japan was conducted in Korea) have already settled or not?

Japan China Korea
Already settled 48 10 3
Not settled yet 47 88 97

 

Q44. ◆There is a opinion, which is, history education in Japan is masochistic because it has a lot of views that deny the past war that Japan experienced. What are your thoughts on this matter?

Agree 37
Disagree 53

 

Q45. ◆(Japanese) Prime Minister, Abe, visited Yasukuni Shrine in the last November. Do you think this behavior was preferable or not?

Japan China Korea
Preferable 41 0 1
Not preferable 47 95 97

 

Q46. ◆What do you think the character of Yasukuni shirine (in Japan)?

Japan China Korea
Place to mourn for the war dead 64 9 16
Symbol of militarism 12 77 73
One of the religious facilities 12 7 3
Not have a particular impression 10 4 6

 

Q47. ◆As for the compensation problem over the comfort women by the former Japanese Armies, the Japanese government keeps its position that such an issue has already been settled by the Japan-Republic of Korea Basic Relations Treaty ratified in 1965. Although a contribution donated by the Japanese was provided, former comfort women in Korea and the others demand an official compensation to each of the individual. What do you think the Japanese government should tackle with this issue?

Japan China Korea
Official compensation is required 26 95
No need for official compensation 63 5

 

Q48. ◆Do you think Japan has been on its way to purse the peace for around 70 years or not? Please choose your closest answer from the followings.

Japan China Korea
Pursued the peace 93 36 19
Not pursued the peace 4 62 79

 

Q49. ◆Do you think Japan is going to pursue the peace from now on or not? Please choose your closest answer from the followings.

Japan China Korea
Purse the peace 74 21 14
Not pursue the peace 17 77 82

 

Disclaimer

The Mansfield Foundation is responsible for the translation of this Asahi Shimbun poll, subject to the Mansfield Foundation terms of use (see below).

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