Yomiuri Shimbun January 2007 Opinion Poll (07-5)

Key Issues
  • Japan Defense Agency upgrade to Ministry of Defense and new Self-Defense Force priorities
  • Support for Abe Cabinet
  • Patriotism incorporated in the new basic education law
  • Arrest of some governors for bid-rigging and bribery
Dates Conducted

January 20 and 21, 2007

Methodology

Yomiuri conducted the poll in individual interviews on January 20 and 21 using a stratified two-stage random sample of 3,000 voters in 250 different locations. 1,780 people, or 59.3% of those selected, responded.

Background

Starting in January 2007, the status of the Japan Defense Agency was raised to that of a full-fledged ministry: the Ministry of Defense. Although the change of status does not have a direct impact on the security policymaking of Japan, it represents a further acceptance of defense-related issues in the Japanese polity. Also around this time, the new basic education law, which incorporates some moral points such as the spirit of patriotism and respect for culture, tradition and public spirit, was enacted. The law sparked controversy because, as some argued, it was forcibly enacted without sufficient discussion about what those moral points actually mean and to what extent the government should dictate those points. Finally, in January, Japanese media focused on bid-rigging and bribery charges leveled at the governors of Fukushima, Wakayama and Miyazaki.

Survey

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

Support 48.4% (55.9)
Do not support 38.9% (30.0)
Other 4.4% (3.5)
Do not know; No answer 8.3% (10.6)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in December, 2006.

 

SQ1. [Those who answered “support” in Q1 only]

Please select from the list below up to two reasons why you support the Abe Cabinet:

Positively evaluate its political stance 27.4%
Feel that it is stable 10.2%
Can trust the Prime Minister 25.0%
Have a fresh image of the Prime Minister 48.8%
Can support its economic policies 3.1%
Can support its foreign policy 18.2%
Because of the coalition between the Liberal Democratic Party and the NewKomeitoParty 8.9%
It is better than previous cabinets 8.0%
Other; Do not know; No answer 5.0%

 

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

Please select from the list below up to two reasons why you do not support the Abe Cabinet:

Cannot positively evaluate its political stance 40.3%
Do not feel that the cabinet is stable 30.0%
Cannot trust the Prime Minister 24.4%
The Prime Minister’s political experience is lacking 19.8%
Cannot support the administration’s economic policies 23.1%
Cannot support the administration’s foreign policy 10.4%
Because of the coalition between the Liberal Democratic Party and the NewKomeitoParty 11.4%
The current cabinet is worse than the previous ones 8.4%
Other; Do not know; No answer 4.9%

 

Q2. From the list below, please select all applicable issues you would like the Abe Cabinet to prioritize and tackle.

Economic conditions/job security 53.7% (52.0)
Financial reconstruction 20.7% (19.0)
Tax reform and the issue of consumption tax 32.0% (31.8)
Social security reform including pension and healthcare 63.0% (59.3)
Support for child care and counter-measures for declining birthrates 28.9% (29.9)
Education reform 25.3% (26.7)
Administrative reform such as cutting back government employees 20.3% (18.6)
Problems of income disparities 26.2% (21.1)
Issues surrounding Yasukuni Shrine 6.1% (6.2)
Diplomacy toward Asia, including China and South Korea 14.6% (16.5)
Issues overNorth Korea 31.3% (33.6)
National defense and security 11.5% (10.7)
Constitutional reform 7.0% (5.8)
Disaster prevention and crisis management 10.6% (8.9)
Measures for preventing crimes and securing peace and order 21.7% (20.2)
Environmental protection 16.6% (14.1)
Food safety 17.6% (11.6)
Other; Nothing special; Do not know; No answer 2.8% (2.7)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in December, 2006.

 

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

Liberal Democratic Party 39.3% (40.8)
Democratic Party ofJapan 12.5% (11.7)
NewKomeitoParty 2.5% (2.7)
JapanCommunist Party 2.1% (1.2)
Social Democratic Party ofJapan 1.3% (1.0)
The People’s New Party 0.2% (—)
The New PartyNippon 0.1% (—)
Others 0.1% (0.1)
Do not support any party 41.5% (41.7)
Do not know; No answer 0.6% (0.9)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in December, 2006.

 

Q4. Are you interested in current politics or not?

Greatly interested 29.7% (31.5)
Somewhat interested 46.3% (45.6)
Not interested very much 19.8% (17.7)
Not interested at all 3.8% (4.9)
Do not know; No answer 0.4% (0.2)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in January, 2006.

 

Q5. So far, the Japan Self-Defense Force has worked on activities such as national defense, disaster restoration in Japan or overseas, international peacekeeping operations abroad, etc. As a whole, do you support these SDF activities or not?

Greatly support 33.7%
Somewhat support 48.5%
Do not support very much 11.1%
Do not support at all 3.8%
Do not know; No answer 2.9%

 

Q6. The Japan Defense Agency was raised to the status of the Ministry of Defense on January 9. Do you support this or not?

Greatly support 16.3%
Somewhat support 29.4%
Do not support very much 27.8%
Do not support at all 11.4%
Do not know; No answer 15.0%

 

Q7. Along with the change of the Ministry of Defense, some responsibilities of the SDF that were regarded as subordinate, such as international peacekeeping operations and the evacuation of Japanese nationals in the case of emergencies abroad, have been upgraded to primary responsibilities equivalent to national defense. Do you support this or not?

Greatly support 25.4%
Somewhat support 37.2%
Do not support very much 21.1%
Do not support at all 7.2%
Do not know; No answer 9.0%

 

Q8. Do you think the Japanese people as a whole have a strong feeling of love for their own country? Or is the feeling of love for their own country weak?

Strong 15.7%
If anything, strong 23.3%
If anything, weak 33.6%
Weak 24.8%
Do not know; No answer 2.6%

 

Q9. The revised basic education law took effect last December. Under this new education law, the spirit of patriotism is incorporated as stated: “to respect tradition and culture, and love the nation which has cultivated them, and to nurture the attitude of respect for other nations and contribute to international peace and development”. Do you support the fact that the spirit of patriotism was incorporated in the law, or not?

Greatly support 27.5%
Somewhat support 39.1%
Do not support very much 21.3%
Do not support at all 7.5%
Do not know; No answer 4.6%

 

Q10. In addition to the above, the new basic education law clearly states the responsibility of parents and respect for the public spirit. As a whole, do you support the new basic education law?

Greatly support 31.1%
Somewhat support 43.8%
Do not support very much 14.6%
Do not support at all 3.9%
Do not know; No answer 6.6%

 

Q11. Are you interested in the politics and the public administration of the prefecture where you currently live?

Greatly interested 29.9%
Somewhat interested 41.8%
Not interested very much 22.4%
Not interested at all 5.0%
Do not know; No answer 1.0%

 

Q12. Let us ask you about the governor of the prefecture you currently live in. (Those in Miyazaki Prefecture are not asked this question.)

S1. Right now do you trust the current governor, or not?

Greatly trust 13.7%
Somewhat trust 44.0%
Do not trust very much 27.3%
Do not trust at all 8.0%
Do not know; No answer 7.0%

 

S2. Do you think the current governor reflects the residents’ opinions regarding actual public administration, or not?

Greatly reflects 5.7%
Somewhat reflects 39.1%
Does not reflect very much 31.8%
Does not reflect at all 9.2%
Do not know; No answer 14.2%

 

S3. Do you think that the current governor fully explains to residents about the management of public administration, or not?

Fully explains 5.1%
Explains to some extent 29.7%
Does not explain very much 41.5%
Does not explain at all 15.5%
Do not know; No answer 8.2%

 

Q13. Previous governors in Fukushima, Wakayama, and Miyazaki were arrested for bid-rigging or bribery cases over public works. After this series of scandals, as a whole, has your degree of trust toward the governor been lowered, or has it remained the same?

Has been very much lowered 30.6%
Has been a little bit lowered 33.8%
Remains the same 34.3%
Do not know; No answer 1.3%

 

Q14. As a background for triggering those scandals, if there are any problems you see as especially serious, please select as many as you like from the list below:

The governor has much power (budget, personnel matters, etc.) 31.7%
It costs a lot of money for a governor’s election 23.9%
The Assembly is not playing a role of a checking institution to the administrative body 38.3%
Public information is not open enough 32.5%
Local government employees are having a close relationship with the companies that are involved in public works through re-reemployment with them 59.6%
There is a problem in the bidding system to decide the companies that can work on the public works 34.6%
The punishment against illegal acts is weak 34.2%
Voters do not pay attention to public management on daily basis 22.1%
The same governor gets elected for many terms 31.0%
There is a problem in the governor’s qualification and political stance 22.1%
Other 0.6%
Nothing special 3.5%
Do not know; No answer 2.1%

 

Q15. After a series of scandals, the Association of Governors has been working to prevent it from happening again. In regard to the three measures below, please answer whether or not it is effective to prevent it from happening again.

S1. Do you think it is effective to let more companies participate in general bidding over public works?

Effective 44.9%
Somewhat effective 31.0%
If anything, not effective 9.1%
Not effective 9.2%
Do not know; No answer 5.8%

 

S2. How about establishing a system where illegal acts by the governor or the officials in management can be internally reported?

Effective 58.2%
Somewhat effective 26.3%
If anything, not effective 6.6%
Not effective 4.9%
Do not know; No answer 3.9%

 

S3. How about regulating the practice where local government employees are hired by companies that they regulate or to which they are closely connected?

Effective 63.8%
Somewhat effective 22.8%
If anything, not effective 5.4%
Not effective 4.6%
Do not know; No answer 3.4%

 

Q16. Do you think the governor in the prefecture you live in is actively working to avoid those scandals happening again, or not? (People in Miyazaki prefecture are not asked about this question.)

Do think so 24.3%
Do not think so 30.2%
Cannot say which 36.4%
Do not know; No answer 9.1%

 

Q17. In general, up to how many terms do you think it is appropriate for a governor to serve? Please select one from the list below:

Up to 1 term (4 years) 18.5%
Up to 2 terms (8 years) 47.2%
Up to 3 terms (12 years) 18.2%
Up to 4 terms (16 years) 1.1%
Up to 5 terms (20 years)
Other 0.6%
No special limit 11.6%
Do not know; No answer 2.7%

 

Q18. Do you think there should be a guideline to limit the number of times the same governor gets elected, or not?

Do think so 59.4%
Do not think so 18.1%
Cannot say which 21.0%
Do not know; No answer 1.5%

 

Q19. What do you think are the qualifications specially needed for a governor? Please select as many as you like from the list below:

Experience and career 29.5%
Connection with the central government 23.1%
Willingness to make reforms actively 38.7%
Leadership 60.6%
Ability to coordinate 24.4%
Vitality 59.6%
Good ideas 24.7%
Cleanness 37.5%
Friendliness 18.7%
Others 0.6%
Nothing special 2.8%
Do not know; No answer 0.8%

 

Fundamental Characteristics of Survey Sample

Regional Distribution

Hokkaido, Tohoku 11.7%
Kanto 30.1%
Chubu 19.1%
Kinki 17.6%
Chugoku,Shikoku 9.3%
Kyushu 12.2%

 

City Scale

Large Metropolitan areas (Tokyo’s 23 wards and ordinance designated cities) 22.4%
Large mid-sized cities (cities with population over 300,000) 18.7%
Mid-sized cities (cities with population over 100,000) 23.6%
Small cities (cities with population under 100,000) 23.5%
Towns and villages 11.8%

The scale is based on the standards set up as of November 1, 2006

 

Gender Distribution

Male 48.8%
Female 51.2%

 

Age Distribution (in years)

20-24 4.4%
25-29 6.0%
30-34 8.0%
35-39 7.8%
40-44 7.0%
45-49 8.2%
50-54 9.0%
55-59 12.9%
60-69 20.7%
Over 70 years old 16.1%

 

Educational Background

Middle School 14.8%
High School 47.5%
College/Junior College 37.0%
No answer 0.6%

 

Occupational Background

Agriculture/Forestry/Fishing 3.5%
Business/Industry/Service 8.9%
Self-employed 1.5%
Management/Professional 5.5%
Office worker/Skill industry 18.9%
Labor/Service 20.1%
Housewife 22.0%
Domestic woman other than a housewife 4.6%
Student 2.0%
Other/unemployed/No answer 13.1%

 

Household Annual Income (in Japanese yen)

Below 2 million 9.3%
In between 2 and 4 million 20.1%
In between 4 and 6 million 21.7%
In between 6 and 8 million 14.9%
In between 8 and 10 million 7.1%
Over 10 million 6.2%
No answer 20.7%

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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