Ahead of the first anniversary this month of the inauguration of the U.S. Trump administration, NHK conducted an opinion poll in both Japan and the U.S. Some 80% of both Japanese and American pollees said that they consider North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile issues to be a “threat.” This finding reveals that Americans also see the North Korean threat as a reality.
Outline of poll
The survey was conducted by NHK from Nov. 27 to Dec. 3 last year on a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis and targeted Japanese and American men and women age 18 or over with calls placed to landline and mobile phone numbers. Responses were received from a total of 1,232 Japanese and 1,201 Americans.
Asked how much of a threat they view North Korea’s nuclear and missile issues to be, a total of 81% of Japanese said they feel these issues are a threat, with 48% saying they viewed them as a “great threat” and 33% saying they are “somewhat of a threat.”
In the United States, a total of 83% said they saw Pyongyang as a threat, with 50% saying it is a “great threat” and 33% saying it is “somewhat of a threat.” This shows that Americans also see the North Korean threat as a reality, with North Korea’s claim that it has successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of attacking anywhere in the continental United States.
How to resolve the issue
Asked what they think would be the most effective way to resolve the North Korea nuclear and missile issues, 36% of Americans said “dialogue,” making it the most frequent response. This was followed by “economic pressure” at 24%, “military action” at 18%, and “military pressure” at 17%.
Meanwhile, 35% of Japanese said “economic pressure,” making it the most frequently given answer. Next were “dialogue” at 31%, “military pressure” at 15%, and “military action” at 8%.
In Japan, the more of a threat the pollee viewed North Korea to be, the more likely he or she was to view dialogue as the most effective way to resolve the situation. In contrast, in the United States, the more of a threat the pollee saw Pyongyang to be, the less likely he or she was to view dialogue as the most effective way to resolve the situation.
President Trump has indicated a desire to strengthen America’s nuclear capabilities. Asked for their views on nuclear weapons, American pollees saying “all nuclear weapons should be eliminated” exceeded those saying they are “necessary to deter against war,” with some 54% saying that “all such weapons should be eliminated” and 42% saying they are “needed.”
In Japan, 72% of pollees said “all nuclear weapons should be eliminated” while 20% said they “are necessary to deter against war.” Pollees saying that “all nuclear weapons should be eliminated” greatly exceeded those saying they are “necessary” in all segments of Japanese pollees regardless of gender, age group, or political party supported.
Pollees were also asked about the Japan-U.S. alliance. Asked if they see their counterpart country as an ally whom they can trust and cooperate with, those saying they “trust” their counterpart greatly outnumbered those saying otherwise in both countries. Some 49% of Japanese pollees said they view the United States as an ally they trust and can cooperate with, while 35% disagreed. In the United States, some 57% of pollees said they see Japan as an ally they trust, while 28% said otherwise.
Difference in Japanese and U.S. pollees’ perspectives on China
Asked whether the United States or China were more important to their country, some 66% of Japanese pollees said “the United States,” 11% said “the United States and China are of about equal importance to Japan,” and 10% said “China.” Asked whether Japan or China were more important to their country, some 58% of Americans said “China,” 29% said “Japan,” and 5% said “China and Japan are of about equal importance to the United States.” Japanese and Americans thus rank their ally differently in terms of importance.