Yomiuri Shimbun May 2008 Opinion Polls (08-08)

Key Issues
  • Evaluation of the Fukuda Administration/Cabinet
  • Response to Prime Minister Fukuda vs. DPJ President Ozawa
  • Religion
Dates Conducted

May 17 and 18, 2008

Methodology

Yomiuri conducted the poll in individual interviews on May 17 and 18, using a stratified two-stage random sample of 3,000 voters in 250 different locations. 1,837 people, or 61.2% of those selected, responded.

Survey

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

Support 26.1% (30.0)
Do not support 64.7% (58.4)
Other 2.2% (2.9)
Do not know; No answer 7.0% (8.7)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in April 2008

 

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

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

Positively evaluate its political stance 21.7% (25.5)
Feel that it is stable 16.1% (15.8)
Can trust the Prime Minister 27.8% (23.0)
Its economic policies are promising 4.6% (5.9)
Its foreign policy is promising 9.4% (4.6)
It is a coalition between the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito Party 15.0% (14.8)
The Prime Minister is a member of the LDP 33.6% (35.2)
It is better than previous cabinets 11.9% (11.4)
Other; Do not know; No answer 6.7% (9.3)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in April 2008

 

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

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

Cannot positively evaluate its political stance 47.1% (46.2)
Do not feel that the cabinet is stable 30.9% (34.8)
Cannot trust the Prime Minister 22.8% (24.9)
Its economic policies are not promising 44.6% (35.6)
Its foreign policy is not promising 6.0% (6.8)
It is a coalition between the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito Party 5.1% (8.6)
The Prime Minister is a member of the LDP 3.6% (2.7)
It is worse than previous cabinets 11.7% (9.8)
Other; Do not know; No answer 2.9% (4.2)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in April 2008

 

Q2. From following list, please select all applicable issues, if any, that you would like the Fukuda Cabinet to prioritize:

Economic conditions and job security 52.6% (50.4)
Fiscal reconstruction 23.8% (22.4)
Tax reform and the issue of the consumption tax 35.8% (29.9)
Social security reform, including pensions and healthcare 66.6% (60.2)
Support for child care and countermeasures for declining birthrates 25.7% (26.2)
Education reform 16.0% (16.9)
Problems of income disparities 19.8% (21.0)
Administrative reform, such as cutting back the number of government employees 21.5% (18.8)
The problem of money in politics 28.4% (30.9)
Foreign policy toward Asia, including China and South Korea 14.2% (13.5)
Issues with North Korea 16.5% (18.7)
National defense and security 9.0% (9.8)
Constitution reform 5.0% (4.7)
Disaster prevention and crisis management 12.6% (7.0)
Public safety and crime prevention 19.6% (17.9)
Environmental protection 18.0% (20.3)
Food-safety measures 32.1% (34.7)
Other; Nothing in particular; Do not know; No answer 2.7% (3.8)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in April 2008

 

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

Liberal Democratic Party 28.5% (30.6)
Democratic Party of Japan 18.4% (17.4)
New Komeito Party 2.1% (2.6)
Japan Communist Party 1.3% (1.7)
Social Democratic Party of Japan 1.3% (0.5)
The New People’s Party 0.2% (0.2)
The New Party Nippon —–(0.2)
Others —–(—–)
Do not support any party 47.6% (46.0)
Do not know; No answer 0.7% (0.9)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in April 2008

 

Q4. When do you think the House of Representatives should be dissolved and the next general election held? Please select one from the following list:

As soon as possible 29.1%
In July, after the G-7 Summit 20.5%
Within the year 17.9%
By September 2009, when the current Diet’s term expires 24.6%
Do not know; No answer 7.9%

 

Q5. If an election for the House of Representatives were held today, which party would you vote for in your proportional-representation district? Please select one from the following list:

Liberal Democratic Party 27.6%
Democratic Party of Japan 26.2%
New Komeito Party 2.1%
Japan Communist Party 2.6%
Social Democratic Party of Japan 1.6%
The New People’s Party 0.3%
The New Party Nippon 0.2%
Others —–
Undecided 38.8%
Do not know; No answer 0.7%

 

Q6. What type of administration do you currently prefer? Please select one from the list:

The current coalition between the LDP and Komeito 18.7%
Coalition of opposition parties, with the DPJ at its center 18.2%
Single-party LDP administration 6.1%
Single-party DPJ administration 5.0%
Coalition, with the LDP and DPJ at its center 18.2%
An administration with a new structure consisting of realigned ruling and opposition parties 18.7%
Other 0.4%
Do not know; No answer 14.9%

 

Q7. The temporary increase in the gasoline tax has been restored, leading to higher prices at the pump, and ending the one-month gas-tax revenue gap in central and local government coffers. Do you think that restoring the temporary gas-tax hike was a good thing, or not?

Good 25.4%
Not good 66.0%
Do not know; No answer 8.5%

 

Q8. Prime Minister Fukuda’s explanation for restoring the temporary gas-tax increase is that, “it was necessary to solve the irresponsible revenue-shortfall situation.” Do you find this explanation convincing, or not convincing?

Convincing 19.6%
Not convincing 73.6%
Do not know; No answer 6.8%

 

Q9. Are you in favor or opposed to the idea of taking revenue, such as the gasoline tax that is set aside for road improvement, and designating it as general revenue?

In favor 62.7%
Opposed 28.6%
Do not know; No answer 8.7%

 

Q10. What do you think should be done about the temporary gas-tax hike? Please select one from the list:

Maintain the temporary gas-tax hike and use the revenues for road construction 7.4%
Maintain the temporary gas-tax hike and use the revenues for various purposes 45.2%
Abolish the temporary gas-tax hike 40.5%
Other 1.1%
Do not know; No answer 5.7%

 

Q11. In April, “medical care for late-stage seniors” was instituted to cover people over 75 years of age. This system increases the insurance premiums that the elderly pay, thereby reducing the burden on younger generations. Do you view this system positively, or not?

Very positively 6.5%
Somewhat positively 23.1%
Not very positively 34.1%
Not at all positively 34.5%
Do not know; No answer 1.7%

 

Q12. As the government moved toward implementing the “medical system for late-stage seniors,” do you think that its preparations and explanations were sufficient, or insufficient?

Sufficient 3.4%
Insufficient 94.2%
Do not know; No answer 2.3%

 

Q13. Prime Minister Fukuda held a summit meeting recently with Chinese President Hu Jintao, during his visit to Japan. Overall, do you have a positive view of the Sino-Japanese summit meeting, or not?

Very positive view 9.3%
Somewhat positive view 36.1%
Not very positive view 32.1%
Not at all positive view 16.9%
Do not know; No answer 5.6%

 

Q14. In comparing actions taken on recent political issues by Prime Minister Fukuda with those taken by DPJ President Ozawa, whom do you support?

Prime Minister Fukuda 37.0%
President Ozawa 36.9%
Do not know; No answer 26.2%

 

Q15. On the following five points, please give your impressions of Mr. Fukuda and Mr. Ozawa.

SQ1. Who do you think provides more leadership, Mr. Fukuda or Mr. Ozawa?

Mr. Fukuda 26.6%
Mr. Ozawa 53.4%
Do not know; No answer 20.0%

 

SQ2. Who has more political principles and goals?

Mr. Fukuda 32.9%
Mr. Ozawa 45.0%
Do not know; No answer 22.1%

 

SQ3. Who is more reform-minded?

Mr. Fukuda 28.5%
Mr. Ozawa 49.3%
Do not know; No answer 22.2%

 

SQ4. Who is more able to explain things to the public?

Mr. Fukuda 27.7%
Mr. Ozawa 41.6%
Do not know; No answer 30.8%

 

SQ5. Who is more likable?

Mr. Fukuda 55.0%
Mr. Ozawa 24.6%
Do not know; No answer 20.4%

 

Q16. During debate in the Diet on important legislation, how should the opposition parties act toward Prime Minister Fukuda? Please select one from the following list:

Be persistently confrontational and drive him to resign 15.0%
Demand concessions from the ruling party and work to pass legislation proposed by the opposition parties 22.7%
Look for points of agreement with the ruling party and work to enact compromise legislation 46.9%
Cooperate fully on legislation proposed by the ruling party 6.5%
Do not know; No answer 9.0%

 

Q17. Turning to a different topic, are you a person of religious faith?

Yes 26.1%
No 71.9%
Do not know; No answer 2.1%

 

SQ1. [Those who answered “yes” to Q17 only]

Please select as many reasons from the following list, if any, for why you are a person of faith:

Desire for inner peace and something to rely on 44.5%
Attraction to religious teachings 20.0%
Attraction to a guru or religious leader 3.3%
Unfortunate life circumstances 5.2%
Prayers seem likely to be answered 11.5%
Family tradition 52.8%
Invitation of an acquaintance 1.5%
Other 3.5%
Do not know; No answer 1.5%

 

Q18. At present, is religion important for you to lead a fulfilling life, or not?

Yes 36.6%
No 59.1%
Do not know; No answer 4.3%

 

Q19. From the following list relating to religion, please select all of the things that you either do or have done, if any:

As religious deeds: attendance at mass, religious service, missionary/outreach work, etc. 6.5%
Pray regularly in front of a household Buddhist or Shinto altar 56.7%
Read the Buddhist scriptures or the Bible from time to time 8.1%
Transcribe Buddhist sutras by hand 4.0%
Visit relatives’ graves during the Obon festival or during the spring/autumn equinox 78.3%
Pray for personal safety, business success or a passing grade on an entrance examination 37.9%
Attend a ceremony to ward off evil spirits 34.2%
Visit a Shinto shrine with an infant, or take a child to the Seven-Five-Three festival 50.6%
Keep a good-luck charm or amulet 33.2%
Stop to pray at a Buddhist temple or Shinto shrine when nearby 24.1%
Visit a Shinto shrine for New Year’s prayers 73.1%
Practice Zen or other forms of meditation to enhance mental concentration 2.9%
Give offerings to a shrine, temple or church 11.8%
Other 0.2%
None of the above; Nothing 3.9%
Do not know; No answer 0.5%

 

Q20. Do you think that Japanese people are not very religious?

Yes 45.1%
No 48.9%
Do not know; No answer 6.0%

 

Q21. Some are of the opinion that “the Japanese people’s recent moral decline is due to a lack of religiousness.” Do you agree with this, or not?

Yes 17.2%
No 78.5%
Do not know; No answer 4.3%

 

Q22. Do you ever sense in the natural world something that transcends the power of human beings?

Yes 56.3%
No 39.2%
Do not know; No answer 4.5%

 

Q23. Do you feel a sense of reverence for your ancestors, or not?

Yes 94.0%
No 4.5%
Do not know; No answer 1.5%

 

Q24. The revised Fundamental Education Act, which was passed in 2006, expressed tolerance toward general religious education. What do you think should be taught about religion in schools? From the following list, please select all that apply, if any:

History of the major religions 30.6%
Distribution of religions in the world 19.3%
The teachings of the major religions 19.9%
The significance of religion 21.3%
Tolerance toward people who practice other religions 20.7%
A mindset that respects life and nature 70.8%
Other 0.3%
Religion should not be taught 6.9%
Do not know; No answer 3.6%

 

Q25. Have you ever had the following feelings about religious groups as they now exist? Please select all that apply, if any:

Fan people’s fears and proselytize aggressively 42.5%
Few religious leaders are worthy of respect 16.4%
Humanitarian and moral contribution to society is insufficient 14.6%
Unaware of what sorts of activities they engage in 46.8%
Solicit large donations and contributions 36.0%
Active in business activities that have nothing to do with religion 22.4%
Strong political ties 28.6%
Much antagonism between religious denominations 13.3%
Nothing in particular 19.0%
Do not know; No answer 1.4%

 

Q26. What sort of funeral and grave would you prefer? Please answer the following questions.

SQ1. Do you prefer a secular ceremony that is light on formalities, or not? Alternately, do you not feel the need for a funeral?

Secular ceremony that is light on formalities 39.1%
Nonsecular ceremony that is light on formalities 48.5%
Do not feel the need for a funeral 8.1%
Do not know; No answer 4.3%

 

SQ2. What sort of burial would you like? Please select one from the following list:

A multi-generational family plot 56.1%
A family plot for my immediate family 23.6%
An individual gravesite 1.4%
A common gravesite with many other people 1.6%
Cremation followed by scattering of the ashes on a mountainside or at sea 7.9%
Other 0.2%
Nothing in particular 1.7%
Do not know; No answer 1.7%

 

Q27. There is rising interest in spiritualism—feeling a spiritual connection with the invisible, such as one’s own prior life, a guardian angel, or auras—as a way to attain peace of mind. Do you feel an attraction to such “spiritual” phenomena, or not?

Feel an attraction 20.6%
Do not feel any attraction 75.4%
Do not know; No answer 4.0%

 

Q28. What do you think happens to a person’s soul after death? Please select one from the following list:

It vanishes 17.6%
It exists inside the grave 9.9%
It goes to a different world 23.8%
It is reborn 29.8%
Other 0.9%
The soul does not exist 9.0%
Do not know; No answer 9.1%

 

Q29. Do you give any thought to the following circumstances? Please select all that apply, if any:

Weddings onbutsumetsudays [inauspicious occasions for a wedding] 42.5%
Funerals ontomobikidays [inauspicious occasions for a funeral] 42.0%
Ritual purification after a funeral 29.5%
Happening upon an ambulance 8.6%
Sleeping facing to the north 27.3%
Having dreams 6.8%
Breaking a chopstick 5.5%
Trimming fingernails or toenails at night 10.5%
Ending up as the middle of three people in a picture 5.0%
The number 4 14.8%
Friday the 13th 8.1%
Unlucky years 40.8%
Direction in which a house faces 17.1%
Number of strokes in Chinese characters used to write a person’s name 11.1%
Keeping a good-luck charm 12.6%
Fortune-tellers on television and in magazines 10.9%
None of the above 18.8%
Do not know; No answer 1.1%

 

Fundamental Characteristics of Survey Sample

Gender Distribution

Male 46%
Female 54 %

 

Age Distribution (in years)

20-29 9%
30-39 15%
40-49 16%
50-59 21%
60-69 22%
Over 70 years old 17%

 

City Scale

Large metropolitan areas (Tokyo’s 23 wards and ordinance-designated cities) 22%
Large mid-sized cities (cities with population over 300,000) 19%
Mid-sized cities (cities with population over 100,000) 24%
Small cities (cities with population under 100,000) 23%
Towns and villages 12%

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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