Public Opinion Survey on the Self-Defense Force by the Cabinet Office of Japan (06-20)

Key Issues
  • General public interest in the operations of the Japanese Self-Defense Force and security
  • Impressions of the Self-Defense Force
  • Mindsets regarding security structures
  • The mission and goals of the Self-Defense Force
  • Japanese security and defense structures
Dates Conducted

February 2006

Date Released

May 1, 2006

Methodology

The poll was conducted by  interviews with persons over the age of twenty selected from all over Japan by a two-layer random sampling method. Of the 3,000 targeted, 1,657 responded and 1,343 did not.

Background

Japanese and international communities have become more conscious of the breadth and expanding role of the Japanese Self-Defense Force (SDF) as it becomes much more active in the United Nations and other coalitions, such as the Coalition of the Willing, fighting the war on terror and responding to international crises. This assertion of a nation who previously protracted diplomacy through its checkbook has increasingly brought greater scrutiny of the scope of the SDF in relation to the pacifist clauses of Japan’s constitution.

Link to Original Source

http://www8.cao.go.jp/survey/h17/index-h17.html

Survey

Interest in the Self-Defense Force/ Security Issues

Q1. Do you have interest in security issues and the Self-Defense Force? Please choose only one from the following list.

Very interested 15.4%
Interested to certain degree 52.0
Do not really have interest 25.6
Do not have any interest at all 6.3
Don't know 0.7

 

SQa. For those who answered, “very interested,” or, “interested to a certain degree,” in Q1 what is your reason? Please choose only one from the following list. (N=1,117)

Because it is a problem affecting Japanese peace and independence 39.4%
Because it is a problem affecting the international community's stability 20.8
Because, in dealing with large-scale disasters, and various other situations it has a close relationship with the lives of the people 29.2
Because it is often a topic in the media 2.9
Because it uses the people's tax money 6.3
Because the Self Defense force is unnecessary 0.6
Other 0.5
Don't know 0.4

 

SQb. For those who answered, “do not really have interest,” or “do not have any interest at all,” in Q1 what is your reason? Please choose only one from the following list. ( N=528)

Because you do not perceive a pressing military threat 19.7%
Because the Self-Defense Force is unnecessary 2.1
Because it has no relation to your personal life 31.8
Because you do not understand the Self- Defense Force or security issues very well 40.2
Other 2.7
Don't know 3.6

 

Impressions of the Self-Defense Force
(Everyone was polled)
Q2 Do you generally have a good impression or a bad impression of the Self-Defense Force? Please choose only one from the following list.

Have a good impression 37.9%
Do not have a bad impression 47.0
Do not have a good impression 8.0
Have a bad impression 2.0
Don't know 5.1

 

Mindset regarding Security Structures
(Question was asked after having respondents carefully look at data presented to them)

Q3. Do you generally think that the Self-Defense Force should become stronger, stay the same as it is right now, or be reduced?

Should become stronger 16.5%
Should stay the same as it is right now 65.7
Should be reduced 9.4
Don't know 8.3

 

Sense of the Self-Defense Force’s mission and activities

Q4 The Self-Defense Force has been given many duties and jobs. What do you think is the purpose that the Self-Defense Force envisions? Please choose as many as apply from the following.

Guaranteeing the nation's safety (preventing aggression from foreign countries) 69.4%
Maintenance of domestic public order 42.8
Disaster relief (rescue operations and the transport of urgent patients in the time of disaster) 75.3
Initiatives towards international cooperative peace exercises (activities for the international communities' peace and stability) 41.8
Civilian cooperation (public works, support for national athletic meets, processing unexploded shells) 22.1
Dealing with ballistic missile attacks 16.2
Dealing with suspicious ships and armed spies, etc. 22.6
Other 0.4
Don't Know 2.0

 

Q5. What area do you think the Self-Defense Force should strengthen next? Please choose as many as apply.

Guaranteeing the nation's safety (preventing aggression from foreign countries) 54.9%
Maintenance of domestic public order 34.4
Disaster relief (rescue operations and the transport of urgent patients in the time of disaster) 67.1
Initiatives towards international cooperative peace exercises (activities for the international communities' peace and stability) 36.9
Civilian cooperation (public works, support for national athletic meets, processing unexploded shells) 17.3
Dealing with ballistic missile attacks 13.9
Dealing with suspicious ships and armed spies, etc. 17.8
Other 0.4
Don't Know 1.6

 

Q6. What impression do you have concerning disaster relief operations that the Self- Defense Force has carried out thus far? Please choose only one of the following.

Producing large results 28.4%
Producing results to a degree 60.5
Not really producing results 7.4
Mostly producing no results 1.7
Don't know 2.0

 

Q7. If you know of any international peace keeping operations that the Self-Defense Force has taken part in, please choose as many of the following that apply.

Cooperation over efforts aimed at rebuilding Iraq 88.4%
Operations dealing with international terrorism 28.5
International peace keeping operations 45.3
Japan International Cooperation Agency activities 68.9
Initiatives for a security plan regarding the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction 13.3
Not aware of any from this list 2.8
Don't know 1.6

Q8. How do you think the Self-Defense Force should engage in international peace- keeping operations from here on out? Please choose only one of the following.

Should positively engage more than they have up until now 31.0%
Should maintain the present level of engagement 53.5
Should lessen the present level of engagement 9.1
Should not engage 2.1
Don't know 4.4

 

Q9. Do you think that the efforts of the Self-Defense Force are helping to rebuild Iraq? Please choose only one of the following.

Helping 26.1%
If I had to choose, I would say they are helping 40.6
If I had to choose, I would say they are not helping 16.4
Not helping 7.8
As a rule I cannot say 3.4
Don't know 5.7

 

Q10. The Self-Defense Force has carried out medical relief and quarantine missions, as well as provided supplies by air and sea for areas around the world starting with the hurricane in the Republic of Honduras in 1999, the 2005 tsunami started by the maritime earthquake off of the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia, and also the earthquake in Pakistan. What do you think about the Self-Defense Force being deployed to carry out missions of international relief in these situations of international disaster?

Support them 61.7%
If I had to choose, I would support them 29.1
If I had to choose, I would oppose them 3.9
Oppose them 1.6
As a rule I cannot say 2.1
Don't know 1.6

 

Q11. The government is making efforts to revise the laws regarding the Self-Defense Force and maintenance of a ballistic missile defense system as one defensive role in dealing with the new threat posed by ballistic missiles. What do you think of this? Please choose only one of the following.

Support it 25.0%
If I had to choose, I would support it 31.6
If I had to choose, I would oppose it 16.2
Oppose it 8.9
As a rule I cannot say 5.7
Don't know 12.5

 

Sense of defense

Q12. have you ever seen or heard recruitment advertisements for the Self-Defense Force?

Have either seen or heard advertisements 85.1%
Have not either seen or heard advertisements 14.9

 

SQ. For those who answered, “have either seen or heard advertisements,” in Q12, through what source did you see or hear them? Please choose as many of the following as apply. (N=1,410)

Newspaper 20.5%
Magazine 8.2
Internet/Cellular phone site 2.0
Television 13.5
Radio 2.8
Video 0.4
Poster 69.0
Electronic sign 2.6
Standing sign 32.4
Hanging sign 3.2
Pamphlet/Leaflet 13.3
Prefectural, regional, and municipal public information papers and bulletin boards 25.4
Family/relatives/friends 7.9
Town and city officials 3.3
Other 2.9
Don't remember 0.6
Don't know 0.2

 

Q13. In the future, if someone close to you decides that they want to join the Self- Defense Force, will you support, or oppose that decision? Please choose only one of the following.

Support 24.9%
If I had to choose, I would support 26.9
I would leave it up to them, but if I had to choose, I would oppose 27.3
Oppose 9.6
Can't say 9.6
Don't know 1.7

 

SQa. For those who answered “support” or “if I had to choose I would support” in Q13, what was your reasoning? Please choose up to three from the following. (N=858)

Because protecting the peace and independence of Japan is a job of pride 61.4%
Because it is a job that contributes to international stability 51.4
Because it is an admirable job 35.1
Because through living a life with an organization like the Self- Defense Force, one will become a better person 28.4
Because the position of a public servant is stable 19.0
Because the salary and benefits are good 7.1
Because they can learn various skills that will be useful in the future 23.4
Because there aren't any other jobs that you are suited for 0.8
Because they had a connection in the Self-Defense Force 2.6
Because they would be lost without the Self-Defense Force 19.2
Other 2.4
Don't know 0.3

 

SQb. For those who answered “I would leave it up to them, but if I had to choose I would oppose” or “oppose” in Q13, what was your reasoning? Please choose up to three from the following. (N=612)

It is a dangerous job when war occurs 69.3%
Because you can't think that societal approval of the Self- Defense Force is high 24.8
Because it seems like a rigid job 22.4
Because you have to be transferred 7.5
Because the term of office system is a worry 7.8
Because retirement comes early 4.7
Because you dislike the lifestyle in an organization 1.3
Because salary and benefits are bad 1.3
Because you become isolated from the general public your ability to adapt is lacking 16.0
Because there are other jobs you are suited for 9.3
Because you don't understand the actual conditions of the Self-Defense Force 38.7
Because you don't recognize the need for the Self-Defense Force 5.9
Other 1.5
Don't know 1.8

 

Q14. If Japan were attacked by a foreign country what would you do? Please choose only one from the following.

Join the Self-Defense Force and fight 6.9%
Try to support the Self-Defense Force by some means 53.5
Engage in guerrilla-style resistance 1.6
Resist in a non-combative fashion 18.1
Would not resist 8.8
Other 1.4
Don't know 9.7

 

Q15. In order to deepen a feeling of protecting the country among the citizens of Japan do you think it is, or is not necessary to take this issue up in schools?

It is necessary to take this issue up in schools 65.7%
It is not necessary to take this issue up in schools 22.1
Don't know 12.3

 

Sense of the way Japan approaches their security

Q16. Next, Japan’s security system will be discussed. Currently, Japan is tied to the U.S. in the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. Do you think that the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty does or does not benefit Japan’s peace and safety? Please choose only one from the following.

Benefits 34.8%
If I had to choose, I would say that it benefits 40.3
If I had to choose, I would say that it does not benefit 12.1
It does not benefit 4.9
Don't know 7.9

 

Q17. What method do you think should be employed in order to protect Japan’s safety? Please choose only one from the following.

Quit the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, increase military power, and protect Japan's peace with only Japanese power 8.6%
Continue with present arrangement of protecting peace with the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty and the Self-Defense Force 76.2
Quit the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, and shrink or abolish the Self-Defense Force 5.6
Other 1.3
Don't know 8.3

 

Q18. Currently in Okinawa, there are over seven exclusive bases and areas in use by the U.S. military. What do you think about lessening the burden on the people of Okinawa Prefecture and sharing it with all of the Japanese people through reorganizing the U.S. Forces Japan and moving a part of their facilities to the mainland? Please choose only one from the following.

Support 17.8%
If I had to choose, I would support 33.7
If I had to choose, I would oppose 22.6
Oppose 11.9
As a rule I cannot say 9.4
Don't know 4.6

 

Q19. Think of the current state of affairs in the world. Do you or do you not think that there is a danger that Japan will be dragged into a war, or have a war started with them?

There is a danger 45.0%
This danger is not out of the question 32.6
There is no danger 16.5
Don't know 5.9

 

SQa. For those who answered “there is a danger” or “this danger is not out of the question” to Q19, why did you think so? Please choose as many as apply from the following. (N=1,286)

Because there is international tension and antagonism 77.4%
Because the Self-Defense Force power is insufficient 19.1
Because the UN's abilities are insufficient 29.8
Because of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty 17.3
Other 1.3
Don't know 1.6

 

SQb. For those who answered “there is no danger” to Q19, why did you think so? Please answer as many as apply from the following.

Because the existence of the Self-Defense Force 10.6%
Because of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty 45.1
Because of the UN's efforts toward peace 38.8
Because international tensions and antagonism are decreasing 12.8
Because of the constitution's renouncement of war 38.5
Because the sense of national security among the citizens is high 8.4
Other 3.3
Don't know 2.9

 

Q20. From the perspective of Japan’s peace and safety, if there is anything that you have any interest in, please choose as many as apply from the following.

U.S.- Russia relations 11.7%
Conditions of the Middle East 27.4
U.S.-China relations 27.5
Conditions on the Korean Peninsula 63.7
Conditions in Southeast Asia 11.0
Arms control and disarmament in relation to missiles and Weapons of Mass Destruction 29.6
Conditions of U.S. military facilities in the area of Japan 15.0
Deployment of the Russian military into the Northern Territories 14.2
Modernization of the Chinese military and their activities on the ocean 36.3
Activities of international terrorist organizations 46.2
Other 0.5
Nothing in particular 6.9
Don't know 3.3

 

Fact Sheet

F1. Gender

Male 47.9%
Female 52.1

 

F2. Age

20-24 3.0%
25-29 4.8
30-34 7.9
35-39 8.6
40-44 7.1
45-49 7.7
50-54 10.8
55-59 12.1
60-64 10.9
65-69 10.9
70-74 16.2

 

F3. Occupation

Independent Business Owners (Farming, forestry, fishing2.4%Commerce, Industry, Service8.2%; Self-employed1.4%) 12.1%
Family Business Operators (Farming, forestry, fishing0.7%;Commerce, Industry, Service3.7%; Self-employed0.4%) 4.8%
Employed ( Management2.6%;Specialized skill job1.3%; Office worker18.2%; Labor23.2%) 45.2%
Unemployed (Housekeeper21.6%; Student1.2; Other15.1%) 38.0%

 

F4. Is there a Self-Defense Force base or garrison near your town or city?

Yes 33.9%
No 62.9
Don't know 3.1

 

In order to preserve the peace and stability of international society, the Self Defense Force performed the following things in 2005 as part of its ‘International Peace Keeping Operations’.

Cooperative efforts aimed at rebuilding the Iraqi nation Activities in response to international terrorism International peacekeeping duties International urgent relief activities Support for the Proliferation Security Initiative
Medical activities; Water supply activities; Maintenancing and rehabilitating public buildings such as schools; Transporting humanitarian relief supplies. In order to contribute to international efforts in preventing and eradicating international terrorism, provided water and supplies to naval ships of other countries in the Indian Ocean As part of UN peace keeping operations: in the Golan Heights, Transporting everyday goods for the United Nations ; Disengagement Observation Force; Providing backup support for the maintenance of tools and roads During Sumatra Indonesia's earthquake as well as the Indian Ocean tsunami, Transporting relief goods; Medical epidemic controlIn relation to Pakistan's earthquake and subsequent damage; Transporting relief workers as well as supplies Participating in the Proliferation Security Initiative in order to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons of mass destruction; Participating in cooperative-prevention training with other participating countries

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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