On Dec. 21, the Cabinet Office announced the findings of its “Public Opinion Survey on Diplomacy.” Asked what North Korea-related issues they are interested in (multiple answers permitted), 59.9% of respondents said the nation’s “missile program,” down sharply from the 83.0% in the previous poll conducted in October 2017 when this was the most frequently given response. The share of pollees who picked the country’s “nuclear program” stood at 66.7%, down 8.6 percentage points from the previous survey.
The decline is apparently due to the fact that Pyongyang has not fired any ballistic missiles or conducted any nuclear weapons tests since November 2017. Meanwhile, 81.4%, up 3.1 points, cited the issue of “Japanese abductees,” making this the most frequently given response in the recent survey.
The share of respondents who think Japan-U.S. relations are in “good shape” shrank 10.1 points to 74.3% and those saying they are “not in good shape” rose by 10.3 points to 22.7%. This was apparently because of U.S. President Donald Trump’s statements and actions seeking to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with Japan.
Some 78.8% of respondents, up 0.7 points, said that they “do not feel close” to Russia. All eyes are on how the peace treaty talks, which will include the Northern Territories issue, will proceed.
The survey was conducted on Oct. 18–28, covering 3,000 people aged 18 or over across Japan. Valid responses were received from 1,663 people (55.4%).