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Japan, U.S. differ in perception of China and Russia, Yomiuri-Gallup poll

[The Yomiuri Shimbun and the Gallup Organization, a U.S. polling company, conducted a telephone-based joint public opinion survey in Japan and the United States on Nov. 28–Dec. 4.]


A major gap in perception continues to exist between Japan and the United States regarding their own nation’s ties with China. When asked about their nation’s relations with China, 73% of pollees in Japan said they are “in bad shape” [including “bad” and “very bad”] (previous poll: 78%) whereas only 20% of respondents in the United States gave that response (previous poll: 29%). Some 90% of Japanese pollees said that they “do not trust China” [including “not very much” and “not at all”] while 61% of respondents in the United States gave that answer.


Turning to ties with Russia, pollees in Japan were divided in their views about their country’s relations with Russia, with 33% saying they are “in good shape” [including “very good” and “good”] and 41% saying they are “in bad shape” [including “bad” and “very bad”]. Some 14% of U.S. respondents said their country’s relations with China are “in good shape” while 37% said they are “in bad shape.” It seems that the Japan results reflect Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s repeated meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and promotion of Japan-Russo economic cooperation with an eye to resolving the Northern Territories issue. When asked about concerns they have in particular about Russia today (multiple answers permitted), the most frequent answer given in Japan was “Northern Territories issue” at 81% and in the United States was “cyberattacks” also at 81%.


Respondents were asked what countries or areas they think may become a military threat to their own country (multiple answers permitted). The most frequent answer in Japan this year was “North Korea,” which has repeatedly conducted nuclear tests and launched missiles. “North Korea” surpassed “China,” at 76% this year, which was the most frequent response in the previous survey. Respondents in the United States also selected “North Korea” as their most frequent response at 76%, followed by the Middle East at 75%.


When asked whether the international community should place more emphasis on dialogue or on pressure to persuade North Korea not to engage in provocative actions, like nuclear testing, more respondents in both Japan and the United States said “more emphasis should be placed on pressure [through economic sanctions]” at 49% and 69%, respectively. In both countries, “pressure” outdistanced “dialogue” as the recommended emphasis in dealing with North Korea.



       Countries/areas viewed as possible military threat to own country



North Korea


North Korea




Middle East






Middle East




South Korea




(Notes) Top five countries/areas for each. Multiple responses permitted. Figures

are percentages. Parenthesized figures are those of the previous survey.


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