About 70% of Japanese respondents to a recent survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun said they think their living standards are middle class, remaining at the same level from a similar survey conducted in the 1964 of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
In the nationwide poll about social awareness, the survey asked questions similar to those in several surveys conducted in the 1960s to compare how public attitudes have changed.
When asked to choose which living standard they have from nine classes — upper, middle or lower level of wealthy, middle or lower class — 72% picked answers ranging from the upper middle, middle or lower middle classes. The rate in the December 1964 survey stood at 74%.
Comparisons with the 1964 survey cannot be easily made because the survey methods are different, but the latest survey reveals that the majority of people’s awareness of being in the middle class has not much changed over the past half-century. Surveys in the 1960s were carried out in a face-to-face interview format.
Responses regarding awareness about interpersonal relationships, however, showed a significant change from the survey conducted in November 1968.
When asked in the latest survey how they socialize with their neighbors, 70% said they have only a light relationship, exchanging a few words of greeting when they meet, which is almost double the rate of the 1968 survey at 36%
The rate of those who have a close relationship with their neighbors, going back and forth between each other’s houses, stood at 22% in the latest survey, significantly down from 61% in 1968.
To the question of who would take care of their parents in old age, 50% of respondents, the highest, said all their siblings would do so.
In the 1968 survey, 37% of respondents, the highest bracket, said the eldest child would take care of their parents, but the rate in the latest survey dropped to 4%.
Meanwhile, 76% of respondents think they may pay a price if they do something selfish or cruel, according to the survey. In the survey conducted in December 1964, 41% said they thought so, and 40% did not.
The latest mail-in survey was conducted on 3,000 households with eligible voters from March 10 through April 20. Valid answers were given by a total of 2,130 out of 2,212 returns, with a response rating at 71%.