During April and May the Asahi Shimbun conducted what is basically an attitudes survey (jp) of Japanese from all around the country. The postal survey forms were sent to 3000 people, of which 78% sent back valid responses.* I found some of the answers quite interesting and so I have taken the liberty of translating the survey questions and answers. My translations are pretty liberal and rather colloquial – but I feel that since this is an attitudes survey such liberties are justified in order to communicate the proper nuances. I also worry sometimes that overly literal translations often are taken out of context in the English media, especially when Japan is involved. Below is the first half – I will have the second up shortly, followed by a few points of interests in a third post.
What political party do you currently support? (note: the surveys were due by May 25 so well before the recent political changes)
DPJ: 21% LDP:14% New Komeito: 4% Communist Party: 2% SDP: 1% Your Party: 7% Stand Up Japan: 1% Others: 0% (or rounded down to 0%) Do not support a party: 46% Won’t answer/Don’t know: 3%
To what degree are you satisfied with your (current) daily life?
Very satisfied: 2% Satisfied: 46% Not very satisfied: 38% Not at all satisfied (unsatisfied): 13%
To what degree do you worry about Japan’s immediate future?
Feel very worried: 50% Feel somewhat worried: 45% Do not feel so worried: 4% Not at all worried: 0%
Do you have a sense of pride in Japan?
Have a sense of pride: 75% Am not particularly proud: 19%
Which of these distinguishing features do you think is a point of pride in regards to Japan? (Not such a point of pride)
Economic Strength: 34% (65%) Technological Strength: 94% (6%) Educational Standards: 33% (66%) Japanese (traditional) culture: 92% (5%) Anime and (video) games: 68% (29%) Pacifist Constitution: 67% (29%)
If you were to compare Japan’s current situation to mountain climbing, which of the below is the closest description of the image you currently hold?
Progressing upwards without too much effort: 1%
Eagerly (but with difficulty) progressing up a steep slope: 15%
Having run out of breath, being overtaken by others from behind: 62%
Having hurt its foot, no longer able to progress forward: 18%
Has modern Japan lost its confidence?
Yes, it has lost its confidence: 74%
No, do not believe that this is the case: 22%
(To those who believed that Japan has lost its confidence) Why do you think is the major reason for Japan having lost its confidence (up to two choices)
Economic Stagnation: 36% Political Stagnation: 49% Deterioration of countries fiscal situation: 44% Decline in international position: 17% Problem of aging society and low birth rate: 22% Decline in traditional values: 6%
Does Japan have the energy in reserve to build back up its confidence?
Yes, it has the energy: 56% No, don’t believe it does: 28%
Until last year Japan’s (total) GDP was second in the world to the US – however it is expected that China will surpass Japan this year. Is Japan falling to no.3 in the world in terms of GDP a big problem?
It is a big problem: 50%
Not such a big problem: 46%
Which of the following is an applicable description of current Japanese (people): (Not particularly applicable to Japanese people)
Industrious: 46% (50%) Cooperative: 45% (51%)
Polite/Respectful: 45% (52%) Skillful/Have skills:77% (20%)
Are self-reliant: 20% (76%) Are creative/have ingenuity: 35% (61%) Internationally disposed: 26% (70%)
What of the following (qualities) should be of importance for Japanese people going forward (ie pay special attention to – up to two choices):
Industriousness: 23%, Cooperativeness: 21%, Politeness/Respectfulness: 24%, skilfulness: 6%, self-reliance: 36%, creativity: 27%, Internationalism (ie foster an internationally-disposed character): 46%
Overall, do you think Japanese enjoy a spiritually fulfilling lifestyle? (ie enjoy good emotional wellbeing)?
Yes, I believe this is the case: 23%
No, I do not believe this is the case: 73%
Is modern Japanese society one that rewards industriousness and hard work?
Yes, it rewards industriousness: 25%
No, it is not a society that rewards industriousness: 69%
In terms of work-life balance, going forward, should Japanese people give preference to their job, or to ones own personal life?
To work: 36%
To one’s own personal life: 48%
Part 2 soon.
*Age distribution: 20s: 11%, 30s: 17%, 40s: 15%, 50s: 18%, 60s: 20%, 70s: 12%, over 80: 7%.