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87% say they are anxious about U.S.-China conflict, Nihon Yoron Chosakai poll

Nihon Yoron Chosakai conducted a nationwide mail-in survey to probe views on international relations. A total of 87% of respondents said that they either “anxious” or “generally anxious” about the confrontation between the United States and China, which is intensifying in a variety of sectors. Some 51% of pollees said they are anxious “because there is a risk that Japan will be dragged in as military tensions rise,” and 42% said they are worried “because it will impact the Japanese economy as trade friction increases.”


The results of the survey were announced on Oct. 2.


91% say they feel no affinity with China


The COVID-19 pandemic is showing no signs of ending. Asked if Japan should prioritize international coordination or domestic countermeasures against the pandemic, a total of 81% of respondents said either that “Japan should prioritize its domestic countermeasures” or that “Japan should generally prioritize them.” A total of 21% said Japan does not need to provide vaccine support to other countries.


Asked whether Japan should value ties with the U.S. or ties with China amid the rift between those two nations, 54% said Japan should emphasize “ties with the U.S.” while 44% said “Japan should remain diplomatically equidistant from the two nations.” Only 1% said that Japan should focus on “ties with China.”


A total of 90% said they are concerned about the possibility of a military confrontation occurring near China, including Taiwan.


A total of 57% of respondents said that they either “feel” or “generally feel” an affinity with America’s Biden administration. Asked why, 42% of pollees said “because President Biden values the alliance with Japan,” making it the most frequently given response. Meanwhile, a total of 42% of respondents said that they do not feel an affinity with the current U.S. administration. Asked for the reason for their answer, 29% said “because it looks like America’s hardline stance on China will impact Japan.”


Only 9% of respondents said that they feel an affinity for China, and 56% of this group of pollees said that they feel an affinity “because China is Japan’s largest trade partner.” A total of 91% said that they do not feel an affinity with that Asian neighbor. Asked the reason for their answer, 40% said “because China is increasing pressure in the waters around the Senkaku Islands (in Okinawa Prefecture) among other areas,” making this the most frequently given response. Meanwhile, 33% said they do not feel close to China “because China has not democratized enough and is said to be violating the human rights of minority groups and others.”


The U.S. says that the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 may have escaped from a lab in China, and China objects to the charge. Some 79% of pollees said that a reinvestigation is needed.


The poll was taken of 3,000 men and women aged 18 or over nationwide in August and September 2021.


[Polling methodology: A total of 3,000 men and women aged 18 or over were randomly selected nationwide from 250 locations on a stratified two-stage random-sampling basis to create a cross-section of Japan’s slightly more than 100 million voters. On June 16, 2021, questionnaires were sent out by postal mail, and 1,952 completed questionnaires had been returned as of July 26. Valid responses were received from 1,889 people, excluding questionnaires completed improperly or by persons other than the intended voter. The valid response rate was 63.0%. The makeup of the polling sample was as follows: male, 50.4%; female, 49.6%. Sections of Fukushima Prefecture heavily impacted by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake were excluded from the survey pool.]


[Nihon Yoron Chosakai is a nationwide public opinion polling entity managed by Kyodo News and comprising 38 of its subscribers including the Tokyo Shimbun.]

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