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SOCIETY

Opinion poll & results for 2017 Survey of Public Opinion in Japan

  • December 21, 2017
  • , Mainichi , pp. 22–23
  • JMH Translation

Main Questions & Answers of the “2017 Survey of Public Opinion in Japan” conducted by Mainichi Shimbun and Saitama University

(Most figures are percentages.)

(T = total; P = previous; M = male; F = female)

 

Q: Do you support the Abe cabinet?

 

 

T

P

M

F

Yes

40

(44)

44

36

No

41

(32)

42

40

Not interested

18

(23)

13

22

 

Q: Which political party do you support?

 

 

T

P

M

F

Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP or Jiminto)

35

(36)

38

32

Party of Hope (Kibo no To)

7

 

8

7

Komeito (Komeito)

4

(4)

4

4

Japanese Communist Party (JCP or Kyosanto)

3

(5)

3

3

Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) (Nippon Ishin no Kai)

3

(4)

4

2

Democratic Party (DP or Minshinto)

1

(10)

1

1

Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ or Rikken Minshuto)

12

 

13

10

Liberal Party (Jiyuto)

0

 

0

0

Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto)

1

(1)

1

1

Other political groups

0

(1)

1

None of the above

33

(38)

27

38

 

Q: Are you satisfied with your current life?

 

 

T

P

M

F

Very satisfied

4

(4)

6

3

Somewhat satisfied

61

(58)

58

63

Not very satisfied

29

(30)

30

28

Not satisfied at all

6

(7)

6

6

 

Q: How happy are you currently?

 

 

T

P

M

F

Very happy

9

(9)

9

10

Somewhat happy

67

(65)

65

68

Not very happy

20

(22)

22

18

Not happy at all

4

(4)

4

3

 

Q: Do you think Japan will be an easier place to live ten years from now?

 

 

T

P

M

F

Yes

9

(8)

11

7

No

60

(61)

61

60

Don’t know

29

(30)

27

32

 

Q: Has the amount of money that your household spends in one month increased, decreased, or not changed from this time last year?

 

 

T

P

M

F

Increased

39

(39)

35

42

Decreased

19

(20)

19

19

Not changed

41

(39)

44

38

 

Q: Select from the below list what you are currently most concerned about.

 

 

T

P

M

F

Old age

43

(44)

42

45

Health of self and family

22

(23)

26

19

Finding and keeping a job

5

(6)

7

4

Childbirth and childrearing

4

(3)

3

5

Earthquakes and other natural disasters

8

(11)

7

9

Terrorism and war

11

(5)

10

12

Other

3

(3)

4

3

 

Q: If Japanese society today were divided into the following five classes, to which class do you think you would belong?

 

 

T

P

M

F

Upper class

1

(1)

2

0

Upper middle class

18

(17)

18

19

Lower middle class

40

(37)

41

39

Upper lower class

22

(23)

23

22

Lower lower class

7

(7)

7

6

Don’t know

9

(12)

6

12

 

The following two questions concern relations with the United States, China, South Korea, and Russia.

 

  1. How close do you feel toward each of these countries? (The below figures are average scores based on a scale where 1 is “do not feel close” and 5 is “feel close.”)

 

 

T

P

M

F

United States

3.4

(3.6)

3.5

3.3

China

1.9

(1.7)

1.9

1.8

South Korea

2.1

(2.2)

2.0

2.2

Russia

1.8

(1.8)

1.9

1.8

 

  1. How do you think Japan’s relationship with each of these countries will have changed ten years from now compared to the current relationship? (The below figures are average scores based on a scale where 1 is “greatly worsened” and 5 is “greatly improved.”)

 

 

T

P

M

F

United States

3.3

(3.3)

3.5

3.2

China

2.3

(2.1)

2.3

2.3

South Korea

2.4

(2.4)

2.3

2.5

Russia

2.4

(2.5)

2.4

2.4

 

Q: Select the policies that you attach importance to. (Select as many as you wish.)

 

 

T

P

M

F

Childrearing  support

36

 

30

41

Nuclear power and energy policy

31

 

31

31

Diplomacy and security

36

 

36

36

Pensions and medical care

74

 

68

80

Consumption tax hike

28

 

25

30

Constitutional amendment

21

 

22

21

Economic measures

45

 

46

43

Reconstruction from natural disasters

25

 

19

30

 

  1. This question concerns social security benefits and the economic burden on the public. Which of the following is closest to your view?

 

 

T

P

M

F

To enhance the social security system, it is inevitable that the burden on the public will increase

46

 

48

44

To keep the burden on the public down, a decrease in social security system services is inevitable

23

 

29

17

Don’t know

28

 

21

35

 

Q: The consumption tax rate is scheduled to be raised to 10% in October 2019. Are you in favor of or opposed to raising the consumption tax?

 

 

T

P

M

F

In favor

37

 

41

32

Opposed

61

 

57

65

 

Q: Do you think the current public pension system will support you in old age?

 

 

T

P

M

F

Yes

19

 

21

16

No

65

 

64

67

Don’t know

14

 

13

16

 

Q: What are you concerned about in particular regarding the future of the public pension system?

 

 

T

P

M

F

That pension benefits will decrease from current levels

43

 

40

46

That the age for receiving benefits will be raised

17

 

20

14

That public finances will collapse and it will no longer be possible to maintain the pension system

35

 

33

36

Not particularly concerned

3

 

4

2

 

Q: The age for receiving benefits under the public pension system is now 65 in principle. Are you in favor of or opposed to raising this age?

 

 

T

P

M

F

In favor

29

 

30

27

Opposed

69

 

68

70

 

Q: In addition to your public pension, what will you rely on to cover your living expenses in old age? (Select as many as you wish.)

 

 

T

P

M

F

Deposits and savings

62

 

60

64

Assistance from family

8

 

7

9

Retirement allowance

26

 

28

25

Income from operation of assets, including rent and interest

6

 

8

4

Private pension (personal pension or fixed contribution pension plan)

23

 

21

25

Property inheritance

4

 

4

5

Income from work

44

 

44

44

Welfare

6

 

7

5

Don’t know

11

 

10

12

 

Q: Japan is gradually implementing a continued employment system whereby companies are obligated to continue, at the employee’s request, the employment of the employee until s/he reaches age 65. Meanwhile, the government is working to create an environment that would enable continued employment beyond age 65. What age do you plan to work until? If you are already retired, give your age at time of retirement.

 

 

T

P

M

F

(Average)

66.9

 

67.9

65.9

 

Q: Would you like to work as long as possible into old age? If you are already retired, answer based on your current thoughts on the matter.

 

 

T

P

M

F

Yes

55

 

57

53

No

30

 

30

30

Don’t know

13

 

11

15

 

Q: Do you think you will have to work into old age to be able to support yourself? If you are already retired, answer based on your current thoughts on the matter.

 

 

T

P

M

F

Yes

65

 

65

64

No

20

 

22

18

Don’t know

13

 

11

16

 

Q: The “chain of poverty” refers to the inability of children from poor homes to break out of poverty. Select the item below that you think is the greatest factor in breaking out of poverty.

 

 

T

P

M

F

Own efforts and those of family, including parents

23

 

28

19

Disbursement of cash to poor households and support in finding a job

15

 

15

16

Making education free of charge and provision of financial support for learning

52

 

49

55

Don’t know

8

 

7

9

 

Q: Select those items that you think are necessary for a child to have an ordinary standard of living. (Select as many as you wish.)

 

 

T

P

M

F

Can see a doctor if not feeling well

83

 

80

85

Have a cell phone or smartphone and can contact friends via e-mail or Line

21

 

23

19

Have video-game software and manga that most friends have

8

 

8

7

Can attend cram school if desired

40

 

37

43

Can take a vacation or go to an amusement facility (amusement park) one or more times a year

29

 

32

27

Can attend school club activities or outside lessons related to hobbies

44

 

43

45

Can have three meals a day

82

 

80

84

Can attend high school or university based on academic ability

70

 

68

72

 

Q: Additional financial resources will be required to make preschool education and daycare services free of charge as envisioned by the government. How do you think the burden should be shouldered?

 

 

T

P

M

F

Households with children should cover the expense

13

 

14

12

The expenses should be broadly covered by the people regardless of whether they have children or not

66

 

71

61

Don’t know

19

 

14

24

 

Q: When deciding how to vote in an election, do you place priority on the political party or on the individual candidate?

 

 

T

P

M

F

Political party

48

 

52

44

Individual candidate

39

 

37

40

Don’t know

12

 

10

15

 

Q: Which of the following views do you agree with?

 

 

T

P

M

F

The nation overall improves only if individuals are happy

39

 

41

37

Individuals are happy only if the nation overall improves

20

 

23

17

The improvement of the nation overall is the same as the happiness of individuals

40

 

35

44

 

Q: What do you place the highest priority on in selecting a job?

 

 

T

P

M

F

Not having to worry about unemployment or making ends meet in the future

36

 

37

34

Working with people you get along with

12

 

10

15

Being able to demonstrate your individuality or abilities

40

 

42

38

 

Receiving a good salary

10

 

10

10

 

Q: Do you think about the Constitution of Japan?

 

 

T

P

M

F

Frequently

7

 

11

4

Sometimes

31

 

34

28

Not often

48

 

43

52

Never

13

 

11

15

 

Q: Do you think the Constitution is related to your daily life?

 

 

T

P

M

F

Yes

64

 

66

63

No

34

 

33

35

 

Q: The Constitution stipulates that compulsory education is free of charge. Additional financial resources will be needed to make non-compulsory education free. Are you in favor of or opposed to amending the Constitution to make higher education, including universities, free of charge?

 

 

T

P

M

F

In favor

31

 

32

30

Opposed

44

 

48

40

Don’t know

24

 

19

29

 

Q: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proposed amending the Constitution to explicitly state the existence of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) while leaving paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 9 untouched. Are you in favor of or opposed to this proposal?

 

 

T

P

M

F

In favor

45

 

50

40

Opposed

50

 

48

52

 

Q: [To those who answered “in favor” to the previous question] Select from the items below the one that is closest to your reason for being in favor of this proposal.

 

 

T

P

M

F

Because it would eliminate the risk that the SDF are considered unconstitutional

25

 

27

23

Because I think it would raise the morale of the SDF personnel

4

 

5

4

Because Japan should address changes in its security environment, including North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs

66

 

65

68

Because it is a constitutional amendment spearheaded by Prime Minister Abe

1

 

1

2

Other

2

 

1

3

 

Q: [To those who answered “opposed” to the previous question] Select from the items below the one that is closest to your reason for being opposed to this proposal.

 

 

T

P

M

F

Because it would compromise the meaning of Article 9 of the Constitution, which stipulates that Japan will never maintain war potential

42

 

35

48

Because Article 9 should be changed to allow the maintenance of armed forces and thereby make the SDF constitutional beyond any question

8

 

13

3

Because the SDF are already recognized by the people and so there is no need to amend the Constitution

35

 

37

33

Because it is a constitutional amendment spearheaded by Prime Minister Abe

10

 

10

10

Other

3

 

2

3

 

(Note) Figures are rounded off. Averages are rounded off at the second decimal place. “0” indicates that the figure was below 0.5%, and “–” denotes that no respondents gave that answer. “No answer” omitted. In the case of questions where multiple responses are permitted, totals exceed 100%. Figures in parentheses denote the results of the “2016 Survey of Public Opinion in Japan,” which was conducted last year. The names of political parties are as of the date of the survey.

 

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted of 2,400 voters selected from the voters’ list of 240 locations nationwide on a stratified two-stage random sampling basis. The survey was conducted by the traditional method of postal mail, by Internet (computer), and, starting this year, by Internet (smartphone), as well. Notification postcards were sent by postal mail on Oct. 10, and questionnaires were sent by postal mail on Oct. 18. From Oct. 19, responses could be submitted by Internet, as well. Responses were received by postal mail and Internet through Dec. 6. Excluding responses by proxy, etc., valid responses were obtained from 1,353 people (56%). Of these, 1,188 were received by postal mail and 165 by Internet. By gender, 49% were men and 51% were women. By age, 18- and 19-year-olds made up 2%; those in their 20s made up 8%; those in their 30s, 13%; those in their 40s, 17%; those in their 50s, 15%; those in their 60s, 23%; those in their 70s, 16%; those in their 80s, 5%; and those age 90 or over, 1%.

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