February 2006 Nikkei Regular Telephone Opinion Poll

February 2006 Nikkei Regular Telephone Opinion Poll

Dates Conducted

February 2 – 5, 2006

Date Released

February 6, 2006 (Nikkei Shimbun)

Methodology

The Nikkei Shimbun regularly conducts public opinion polls on attitudes toward the government and domestic policy issues. The telephone poll surveyed 925 males and females over the age of 20 throughout Japan.

Key Issues

  • Support for Prime Minister Koizumi
  • US beef import ban
  • Post-Koizumi leadership
  • Negotiations with North Korea on abductee issue

Background

Japan re-imposed a ban on US beef imports in late January after a company in New York shipped spinal cord parts to Japan in violation of new restrictions aimed at containing the spread of mad cow disease (or BSE). The restrictions were part of an agreement that, in December, lifted a two-year ban on US beef that was the source of mounting bilateral trade friction. The issue reignited debate about Japanese consumer confidence in US agricultural products versus US complaints of excessively high import standards in Japan.

Another news item dominated Japanese media coverage in January. Takafumi Horie, a young entrepreneur, was raided by authorities for alleged finance violations involving his Internet conglomerate, Livedoor. The raid led to massive trading in the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which was overwhelmed by the sudden wave of activity, and cast doubts about the durability of Japan’s emerging “New Economy,” The case drew speculation of wider political fallout, since the LDP courted Horie as a candidate for the Diet in last year’s Lower House elections.

Tokyo also announced, in the midst of stalled Six-Party Talks, that it would resume diplomatic normalization talks with North Korea. Japan made it clear that resolution of the abductee issue is a condition for normalization with North Korea. The talks would also address concerns about North Korea’s nuclear development and missile program.

Disclaimer

The Mansfield Foundation is responsible for the translation of this Nikkei telephone poll, subject to the Mansfield Foundation Terms of Use.

 

Survey

Q1. Do you support the Koizumi Cabinet or not? (N=925)

Support 45%
Don’t support 43%
Can’t say/don’t know 12%

 

 

Q1SQ1. For those who answered “support” in Q1, what is the reason for your support? Please choose as many as apply from the following seven answers. (N=419)

Because it is an LDP cabinet 18%
Good policies 14%
Good sense of international affairs 10%
Leadership 42%
Stability 18%
Can trust members’ personalities 26%
Clean 17%
Others 4%
Can’t say/don’t know 6%

 

Q1SQ2. For those who answered “don’t support” in Q1, what is the reason for your non-support? Please choose as many as apply from the following seven answers. (N=394)

Because it is an LDP cabinet 18%
Bad policies 44%
Bad sense of international affairs 29%
Lack of leadership 10%
Instability 19%
Cannot trust members’ personalities 33%
Not clean 3%
Others 6%
Can’t say/don’t know 2%

 

Q2. What political party do you currently support? Please choose only one. (N=925)

Liberal Democratic Party 36%
Democratic Party of Japan 15%
New Komeito 3%
Japanese Communist Party 1%
Social Democratic Party 2%
The People’s New Party 0%
New Party Nippon 0%
Others 0%
Don’t support any party 37%
Can’t say/don’t know 5%

 

Q2SQ. For those who answered “don’t support any party” or “can’t say/don’t know” in Q2, if you have to choose one party, which party do you feel is most preferable? Please choose only one. (N=392)

Liberal Democratic Party 20%
Democratic Party of Japan 16%
New Komeito 2%
Japanese Communist Party 3%
Social Democratic Party 4%
The People’s New Party 0%
New Party Nippon 0%
Others 0%
Don’t support any party 42%
Can’t say/don’t know 14%

[Support + preferable parties (N=925)]

Liberal Democratic Party 44%
Democratic Party of Japan 22%
New Komeito 4%
Japanese Communist Party 3%
Social Democratic Party 3%
The People’s New Party 0%
New Party Nippon 0%
Others 0%
Don’t support any party 18%
Can’t say/don’t know 6%

 

Q3. The Liberal Democratic Party supported Takafumi Horie, who is the former CEO of Livedoor and a crime suspect, in last year’s Lower House elections. Do you think LDP bears some responsibility for endorsing Horie? Please choose one of the following two answers. (N=925)

Responsible 48%
Not responsible 40%
Can’t say/don’t know 12%

 

Q4. It was revealed that there were risky beef parts included in the U.S. beef imports. The Japanese government decided to ban the U.S. beef import. What do you think the future response should be? Please choose one of the following three answers. (N=925)

Should resume the import soon 6%
Should spend time to confirm the safety 79%
Should not consider the resumption of import 7%
Can’t say/don’t know 8%

 

Q5. Are you likely to purchase U.S. beef products if the import resumes? Please choose one of the following two answers. (N=925)

Likely to purchase 27%
Not likely to purchase 64%
Don’t know/can’t say 10%

 

Q6. Which of the following four answers describes your current living standard? (N=925)

Upper class 1%
Middle class 54%
Lower class 37%
Can’t say/don’t know 9%

 

Q7. How has your living standard changed in the last five years? Please choose one of the following three answers. (N=925)

Improved 11%
Has not changed 46%
Deteriorated 36%
Can’t say/don’t know 7%

 

Q8. There is a rigorous debate within the government and ruling parties about raising the consumption tax rate. What do you think about a tax increase? Please choose one of the following four answers. (N=925)

Inevitable for fiscal revitalization 15%
Acceptable if the raised portion is spent for limited projects such as the government pension plans, etc. 29%
Should maintain the tax rate around the range of the current rate 35%
Should abolish the consumption tax 11%
Others 1%
Can’t say/don’t know 10%

 

Q8SQ. For those who answered “inevitable for fiscal revitalization” or “acceptable if the raised portion is spent for limited projects such as the government pension plans, etc.” in Q8, what do you think should be the ceiling for the consumption tax rate in case it is raised? Please choose one answer that is the closest to your thinking. (N=408)

8% 24%
10% 53%
12% 7%
15% 11%
20% 2%
Can’t say/don’t know 2%

 

Q9. Prime Minister Koizumi’s tenure as LDP president will end this September. Who do you think is appropriate as the next prime minister? Please choose only one of the following. (N=925)

Taro Aso 4%
Shinzo Abe 38%
Heizo Takenaka 2%
Sadakazu Tanigaki 2%
Yasuo Fukuda 13%
Taku Yamasaki 1%
Ichiro Ozawa 6%
Naoto Kan 4%
Seiji Maehara 4%
Others 2%
Can’t say/don’t know 24%

 

Q10. A council of advisors to the prime minister decided to support the idea of female emperors. What do you think about this? Please choose one from the following two answers. (N=925)

Support 63%
Oppose 21%
Can’t say/don’t know 16%

 

Q11. In order to resolve the abductee issue, etc., what do you think should be the nature of future negotiations with North Korea? Please choose one of the following two answers. (N=925)

Should have a hardline position including economic embargoes 71%
Should encourage softening through dialogue and humanitarian aid 18%
Can’t say/don’t know 11%

 

 

F1. Gender (judged by interviewers, N=925)

Male 42%
Female 58%
Unknown 0%

 

F2. Age (N=925, Average: 52.8)

20s 8%
30s 17%
40s 14%
50s 24%
60s 19%
Over 70 16%
Refuse to answer 1%

 

F3. What is your occupation? Please choose one from the following. (N=925)

Agriculture, forestry, fishery 3%
Employed (corporate employee, bureaucrat, teacher, etc.) 43%
Self-employed (business, engineer), freelance (including family business) 13%
Housewife (without any outside job) 19%
Student 2%
Unemployed 19%
Refuse to answer 1%

[Note: Figures appear as originally published by the Nikkei Shimbun.]

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