Yomiuri Shimbun April 2008 Opinion Polls (08-07)

Key Issues
  • Evaluation of the Fukuda Administration/Cabinet
  • Family situation; views on role of family
  • Opinion on lowering age of majority to 18
  • Response to rising food prices
Dates Conducted

April 12 and 13, 2008

Methodology

Yomiuri conducted the poll in individual interviews on April 12 and 13 , 2008, using a stratified two-stage random sample of 3,000 voters in 250 different locations. 1,753 people, or 58.4% of those selected, responded.

Survey

Q1. Do you support or not support the Fukuda Cabinet?

Support 30.0% (33.9)
Do not support 58.4% (54.0)
Other 2.9% ( 2.6)
Do not know; No answer 8.7% ( 9.5)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in March 2008

 

SQ1. [For those who answered “Support” to Q1]

Please select up to two reasons from the following for why you support the Fukuda Cabinet.

Positively evaluate its political stance 25.5% (25.6)
Feel that it is stable 15.8% (28.4)
Can trust the Prime Minister 23.0% (27.9)
Positively evaluate its economic policies 5.9% ( 4.8)
Positively evaluate its foreign policy 4.6% ( 5.8)
It is a coalition between the Liberal Democratic Party and theKomeitoParty 14.8% (12.4)
Fukuda is an LDP Prime Minister 35.2% (30.5)
It is better than previous cabinets 11.4% (12.2)
Other; Do not know; No answer 9.3%( 5.9)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in March 2008

 

SQ2. [Those who answered “Do not support” to Q1 only]

Please select up to two reasons from the following for why you do not support the Fukuda Cabinet:

Cannot positively evaluate its political stance 46.2% (47.8)
Do not feel that the cabinet is stable 34.8% (26.8)
Cannot trust the Prime Minister 24.9% (23.4)
Cannot support the administration’s economic policies 35.6% (37.9)
Cannot support the administration’s foreign policy 6.8% ( 8.6)
It is a coalition between the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito Party 8.6% ( 8.8)
Fukuda is an LDP Prime Minister 2.7% ( 4.9)
It is worse than previous cabinets 9.8% ( 8.1)
Other; Do not know; No answer 4.2% ( 3.0)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in March 2008

 

Q2. From list below, please select all applicable issues you would like the Fukuda Cabinet to prioritize and address:

Economic conditions/job security 50.4% (53.9)
Fiscal reconstruction 22.4% (24.5)
Tax reform and the issue of the consumption tax 29.9% (32.1)
Social security reform, including pensions and healthcare 60.2% (58.1)
Support for child care and countermeasures for declining birthrates 26.2% (27.4)
Education reform 16.9% (18.6)
Problems of income disparities 21.0% (22.1)
Administrative reform, such as cutting back the number of government employees 18.8% (19.7)
Politics and money issues 30.9% (30.2)
Foreign policy toward Asia, including China and South Korea 13.5% (12.5)
Issues with North Korea 18.7% (17.9)
National defense and security 9.8% (11.6)
Constitutional revision 4.7% ( 4.8)
Disaster prevention and crisis management 7.0% ( 8.4)
Public safety and crime prevention 17.9% (16.9)
Environmental protection 20.3% (22.7)
Food safety 34.7% (37.1)
Other; Nothing special; Do not know; No answer 3.8% ( 3.7)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in March 2008

 

Q3. Which political party do you support right now? Please select one:

Liberal Democratic Party 30.6% (33.1)
Democratic Party of Japan 17.4% (17.6)
Komeito Party 2.6% ( 2.7)
Japan Communist Party 1.7% ( 2.5)
Social Democratic Party of Japan 0.5% ( 1.1)
The New People’s Party 0.2% ( 0.3)
The New Party Nippon 0.2% ( 0.1)
Other —% ( —)
Do not support any party 46.0% (41.9)
Do not know; No answer 0.9% ( 0.7)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in March 2008

 

Q4. On the gasoline tax issue, Prime Minister Fukuda has proposed that revenues from gasoline taxes now earmarked for road construction should be put into general revenue from next fiscal year [April 2009]. Democratic Party of Japan leader [Ichiro] Ozawa rejected the proposal, arguing to put all provisional tax revenue into general revenue this year [2008] and abolishing the provisional tax.

SQ1. On this issue, do you think that Prime Minister Fukuda has exercised leadership or not?

Yes 6.6%
Generally yes 16.5%
Generally no 28.1%
No 44.0%
Do not know; No answer 4.8%

 

SQ2. Do you positively evaluate DPJ President Ozawa’s handling of this issue or not?

Highly approve 7.1%
Somewhat approve 26.0%
Do not really approve 35.8%
Do not approve at all 26.6%
Do not know; No answer 4.5%

 

Q5. The government/ruling coalition is aiming to reinstate the provisional tax on gasoline from as early as the end of April, citing impending budget shortfalls for the national/local governments. Do you support or are you against reinstatement of the provisional gas tax?

Support 29.5%
Against 60.8%
Do not know; No answer 9.7%

Q6. Do you support or are you against reallocating revenues from gasoline and other road-related taxes to general revenue?

Support 62.8%
Against 26.7%
Do not know; No answer 10.5%

 

Q7. What do you think should be done with the provisional tax on gasoline in the future? Please select one from the following.

Maintain the provisional tax and use for road maintenance 8.7%
Maintain the provisional tax and use for a wide range of purposes 42.0%
Abolish the provisional tax 40.2%
Other 1.5%
Do not know; No answer 7.6%

 

Q8. Who do you think is more responsible for the continued vacancy of the Bank of Japan governor post—the government/ruling coalition, or the opposition party(ies)?

Government/ruling coalition 24.8%
Opposition party(ies) 25.4%
Both equally responsible 43.7%
Do not know; No answer 6.0%

 

Q9. In the missing pension records issue, out of roughly 50 million unidentified records, the government was able to identify about 10 million holders as of the end of March.  Overall, do you approve of the government’s handling of the mission pension records issue or not?

Highly approve 5.0%
Somewhat approve 29.9%
Do not really approve 31.5%
Do not approve at all 31.2%
Do not know; No answer 2.3%

 

Q10. In the missing pension records issue, the Democratic Party of Japan is calling for Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare [Yoichi] Masuzoe to assume responsibility. Do you think Minister Masuzoe should take the blame and resign, or do you think there is no need for him to resign?

Should resign 11.8%
No need to resign 84.1%
Do not know; No answer 4.1%

 

Q11. When do you think the dissolution of the House of Representatives and the next general election should be held? Please select one of the following.

As soon as possible 23.0% (22.2)
After the [G8] Summit in July 19.9% (22.5)
Within the year 22.1% (22.0)
Anytime before the term ends in Sept. 2009 23.5% (24.7)
Do not know; No answer 11.5% ( 8.6)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in March 2008

 

Q12. If a House of Representatives election were to be held right now, which party would you vote for in the proportional representation section? Please select from one of the following.

Liberal Democratic Party 29.0%
Democratic Party of Japan 22.1%
KomeitoParty 2.9%
Japan Communist Party 2.6%
Social Democratic Party of Japan 1.0%
The New People’s Party 0.4%
The New Party Nippon 0.2%
Other
Undecided 40.2%
Do not know; No answer 1.6%

 

Q13. What arrangement of political parties do you think is ideal in an administration right now? Please choose one from the following list of responses.

The current LDP/Komeitocoalition 19.5% (22.1)
Coalition of opposition-parties centered on DPJ 16.4% (16.1)
LDP one-party rule 6.7% ( 7.2)
DPJ one-party rule 4.3% ( 4.9)
Coalition government between LDP and DPJ 19.2% (20.7)
New framework involving realignment of ruling and opposition parties 18.4% (15.3)
Other 0.8% ( 0.4)
Do not know; No answer 14.6% (13.2)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in March 2008

 

Families and Households

Q14. As a whole, are you happy with your family/household?

Very happy 5.0%
Somewhat happy 29.9%
Somewhat unhappy 31.5%
Completely unhappy 31.2%
Do not know; No answer 2.3%

 

Q15. What kind of place do you want your family or home to be? Please select as many from the following as apply.

One that offers comfort, love 70.3%
One in which to live securely day-to-day 69.9%
One where a married couple can live happily together 43.2%
One to have and raise children 23.8%
One to teach and discipline children 34.3%
One providing protection from society 21.4%
One in which to get advice, resolve worries 34.1%
One where ill/old are taken care of 29.1%
Other 0.2%
Do not know; No answer 1.3%

 

Q16. Recently, do you think that Japanese families’ “cohesiveness” or “bonds” are stronger or weaker?

Stronger 2.2%
Relatively stronger 6.8%
Relatively weaker 48.3%
Weaker 40.7%
Do not know; No answer 2.1%

 

Q17. In your family relationships, if there is something you put particular focus on doing, please select as many from the following as apply.

Eating together 60.8%
Talking as much as possible 67.1%
Keeping in regular touch via phone/email 15.8%
Spending days off together 26.8%
Celebrating special days, like birthdays, together 30.7%
Sharing a hobby 9.7%
Traveling together 23.0%
Other 0.7%
Nothing in particular 9.5%
Do not know; No answer 0.4%

 

Q18. Do you value family “bonds” or “cohesion”?

Yes 84.7%
Somewhat 13.6%
Not very much 1.0%
No 0.3%
Do not know; No answer 0.5%

 

Q19. Concerning Japanese families, the following have been pointed out. Please respond, in turn, as to whether you agree with each assertion.

SQ1. Do you agree that “parents can no longer discipline their children properly”?

Agree 62.3%
Somewhat agree 25.5%
Do not really agree 7.0%
Do not agree 4.2%
Do not know; No answer 1.0%

 

SQ2. Do you agree that “there is no one to bring the family together anymore”?

Agree 42.6%
Somewhat agree 30.5%
Do not really agree 15.1%
Do not agree 10.0%
Do not know; No answer 1.8%

 

SQ3. Do you agree that “family members spend less time together”?

Agree 52.9%
Somewhat agree 30.7%
Do not really agree 9.0%
Do not agree 5.9%
Do not know; No answer 1.4%

 

SQ4. Do you agree that “family members are no longer involved in each others’ affairs”?

Agree 42.5%
Somewhat agree 31.9%
Do not really agree 14.9%
Do not agree 9.1%
Do not know; No answer 1.6%

 

Q20. The following questions have to do with your view on mothers and fathers. Please respond to each in turn.

SQ1. What do you think is required in a father? Please select up to three traits from the following list.

Strictness 54.1%
Reliability 59.6%
Dignity 34.7%
Kindness 37.5%
Approachability 12.5%
Earning power 55.6%
Other 0.5%
Nothing in particular 0.9%
Do not know; No answer 0.7%

 

SQ2. What do you think is required in a mother? Please select up to three traits from the following list.

Strictness 34.7%
Reliability 27.7%
Dignity 3.9%
Kindness 91.7%
Approachability 54.5%
Earning power 4.8%
Other 1.8%
Nothing in particular 0.9%
Do not know; No answer 0.6%

 

Q21. Generally speaking, how much presence do you think fathers have in contemporary Japanese families?

Great presence 13.8%
Some presence 52.2%
Not much presence 29.8%
No presence at all 2.9%
Do not know; No answer 1.3%

 

Q22. What meaning do you think having and raising a child holds? Please select up to three from the following list.

Creating descendants 19.7%
Perpetuating the family 26.5%
Creating society’s next generation 63.1%
Strengthening family bonds 43.1%
Being looked after in old age 7.1%
Parents’ development via birth/child rearing 33.1%
Enjoyment of children’sdevelopment 36.1%
[Recognition] A married couple is only recognized by society once they have children 10.4%
Other 0.2%
Do not know; No answer 2.2%

 

Q23. Please select your family composition from the following.

Large family where grandparents/grandchildren live together 21.2%
Parents and children only 48.4%
Married couple only 24.0%
Live alone (widowed, divorced, live separately) 3.1%
Live alone (unmarried) 2.5%
Other 0.3%
Do not know; No answer 0.6%

 

Q24. In the Civil Code, the age of adulthood is set at 20 years old, and minors are under the protection of their parents. The voting and drinking age are stipulated under a separate law. The government is currently considering lowering the adult age in the Civil Code to 18; do you support or are you against this?

Support 36.4%
Against 58.6%
Do not know; No answer 5.0%

 

SQ1. [For those who answered “Support” to Q24]

Please select up to three reasons from the following as to why you support lowering the age of adulthood.

Mentally mature at age 18 29.9%
Have sufficient power of discretion at age 18 54.7%
Some 18-year-olds are financially independent 14.9%
Lowering the age to 18 will encourage awareness of being an adult 67.9%
Many countries have 18 as the age of adulthood 21.0%
Other 1.7%
Do not know; No answer 0.5%

 

SQ2. [For those who answered “Against” to Q24]

Please select up to three reasons from the following as to why you are against lowering the age of adulthood.

Mentally immature at age 18 59.4%
Do not have sufficient power of discretion at age 18 49.0%
Many 18-year-olds are students and not financially independent 50.5%
Lowering the age to 18 is unlikely to encourage awareness of being an adult 49.4%
“Adult at age 20″is entrenched among the public 17.9%
Other 1.1%
Do not know; No answer 0.4%

 

Q25. The following list includes conduct that is legal from age 20. If you think any of these can be permitted from age 18, please select as many as apply.

Voting in elections 46.4%
Drinking 16.9%
Smoking 10.6%
Public gambling, such as horse/bicycle racing 7.0%
Marriage without parent’s permission 21.4%
Entering into contracts without parent’s permission 9.6%
None of above should be permitted 37.9%
Do not know; No answer 2.2%

 

Q26. If the applicable age for the Juvenile Law is lowered from the current age of 20 to 18, those who commit crimes at age 18 or 19 will be punished as an adult. Do you think that the applicable age of the Juvenile Law should be lowered to under 18?

Yes 75.5%
No 20.5%
Do not know; No answer 4.0%

 

Q27. A national referendum, which is stipulated as a procedure for constitutional revision, is to be carried out 2 years from now. The referendum, under the condition that the age of adulthood in the Civil Code is changed from 20 to 18 years old, would permit votes on constitutional revision from age 18 and up. Do you think that the voting age on the constitutional referendums should be 18 or not?

Yes 50.1%
No 45.2%
Do not know; No answer 4.7%

 

Rising Food Prices

Q28. Recently, due to the rise in costs of raw materials, etc., there have been many instances where the price of foods has risen, or has effectively risen—in that the price remains the same, but the volume has decreased. Has this rise in prices impacted your household budget or not?

Highly impacted 42.4%
Somewhat impacted 39.9%
Not really impacted 12.9%
No impact 2.9%
Do not know; No answer 1.9%

 

Q29. If there is something your household is doing regularly in response to the rise in food prices, please select up to three from the following that apply.

Buy less overall 27.2%
Buy a cheaper version of the same product 34.5%
Refrain from buying foods whose price has gone up 20.8%
Stock up during sales 43.5%
Seek out and purchase from cheap stores 40.6%
Other 1.1%
Nothing in particular 16.9%
Do not know; No answer 2.9%

 

Q30. In your household’s response to the rise in food prices, you will now be asked about specific items individually.  Please respond to each in turn.

SQ1. If there are any food products that you purchase less of, please select as many from the following as apply.

Wheat-based products such as bread, spaghetti 16.8%
Soy-based products such asmiso, soy sauce 5.0%
Condiments such as mayonnaise 5.6%
Processed foods, such as cup noodles, canned goods 23.9%
Fruits and vegetables 4.7%
Beef, pork, chicken and other types of meat 9.1%
Dairy products like milk, butter 8.4%
Seafood 3.0%
Snacks 16.4%
Beer and other alcohols 16.9%
Coffee 3.5%
Other 0.1%
Nothing in particular 45.8%
Do not know; No answer 4.7%

 

SQ2. If you’ve switched to a cheaper version of any food product, please select as many from the following as apply.

Wheat-based products such as bread, spaghetti 15.0%
Soy-based products such asmiso, soy sauce 9.4%
Condiments such as mayonnaise 5.7%
Processed foods, such as cup noodles, canned goods 9.1%
Fruits and vegetables 7.8%
Beef, pork, chicken and other types of meat 10.4%
Dairy products like milk, butter 9.1%
Seafood 4.5%
Snacks 5.4%
Beer and other alcohols 15.2%
Coffee 3.0%
Other 0.2%
Nothing in particular 51.6%
Do not know; No answer 4.9%

 

Q31. If the price rises on a domestically-made food product, would you buy the domestic product or an imported product? Please select one from the following responses.

Would still buy domestically-produced even if price increased significantly 25.0%
Wouldbuy domestically-produced if price increases slightly 62.6%
Would buy cheaper import product 10.5%
Do not know; No answer 1.9%

 

SQ1. [For those who answered “Would still buy domestically produced…” or “Would buy domestically-produced…” to Q31]

Please select the main reason as to why you buy (would buy) domestically-produced products.

They are safe 81.7%
Taste is good 5.6%
Want to support Japanese agriculture/food industry 12.3%
Other 0.1%
Do not know; No answer 0.3%

 

Q32. The ratio of food that is produced domestically out of total domestic consumption is called “food self-sufficiency.”  Japan’s current food self-sufficiency rate has fallen to about 40%.  From the following, please select the response that most closely resembles your thoughts on this issue.

Try to supply as much as possible domestically and raise self-sufficiencyrate 85.7%
Self-sufficiency rate is fine as is 9.9%
Supplies can be obtained through imports, so it does not matter if self-sufficiency rate falls 2.4%
Other 0.1%
Do not know; No answer 1.9%

 

Fundamental Characteristics of the Survey Sample

Regional Distribution

Hokkaido, Tohoku 11.4%
Kanto 29.7%
Chubu 20.2%
Kinki 18.0%
Chugoku, Shikoku 9.0%
Kyushu 11.8%

 

City Scale

Large metropolitan areas (Tokyo’s 23 wards and ordinance-designated cities) 23.0%
Large mid-sized cities (cities with population over 300,000) 17.4%
Mid-sized cities (cities with population over 100,000) 23.7%
Small cities (cities with population under 100,000) 24.5%
Towns and villages 11.4%

The scale is based on the established standards as of March 14, 2008

 

Gender Distribution

Male 47.7%
Female 52.3%

 

Age Distribution (in years)

20-24 5.4%
25-29 5.3%
30-34 6.8%
35-39 8.4%
40-44 7.4%
45-49 8.6%
50-54 9.6%
55-59 11.4%
60-69 21.0%
Over 70 years old 16.118.3%

 

Educational Background

Elementary/middle-school graduate 14.4%
High-school student or graduate 49.2%
College/junior-college student or graduate 35.7%
Do not know; No answer 0.7%

 

Occupational Background

[Self-employed] 14.1%
[Salaried worker] 45.5%
[Other] 40.4%
Agriculture/Forestry/Fishing 4.1%
Business/Industry/Service 8.8%
Freelance Professional 1.1%
Management/Professional 5.4%
Office worker/Skill industry 17.8%
Labor/Service 22.3%
Housewife 23.0%
Domestic woman other than a housewife 3.5%
Student 1.8%
Other; Unemployed; No answer 12.2%

 

Household Annual Income (in Japanese yen)

Below 2 million 11.4%
In between 2 and 4 million 20.4%
In between 4 and 6 million 23.8%
In between 6 and 8 million 16.1%
In between 8 and 10 million 7.1%
Over 10 million 4.7%
Do not know; No answer 16.5%

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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