Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Polls not pillars


Opinion Poll: 2010 U.S Image of Japan, June 1, 2010, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned the Gallup Organization to conduct an opinion poll on the image of Japan in the United States of America from February to March 2010. This poll is the latest in a series of similar opinion polls conducted almost every year since 1960. For the “general public” group, telephone interviews were carried out with 1,201 citizens aged 18 and over who live in the continental United States. For the “opinion leaders” group, telephone interviews were carried out with 202 people in leading positions in the fields of government, business, academics, mass media, religion, and labor unions. (The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3% for the “general public” group and plus or minus 7% for the “opinion leaders” group, at the 95% level of confidence.)

The percentage who perceived Japan as a dependable ally was 79% among the general public and was 90% among opinion leaders, high figures similar to the last year’s poll. 72% of the general public and 86% of opinion leaders viewed cooperation between Japan and the U.S. as “excellent” or “good.” In addition, the percentage of those who agreed that the Japanese and American people had a good understanding of each other was 43% among the general public, and 32% among opinion leaders.

For the first time, there was a question for opinion leaders only on whether the U.S. should import Japanese high speed rail technology: 49%said yes; 23% said no; and 12% said the US should import another country’s technology.

The Japanese version has a fuller explanation of the results as well as graphs.

Opinion Poll: Australian Image of Japan, May 27, 2010, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned a local private research agency to conduct an opinion poll on the image of Japan in Australia from November 10 to 14, 2009 (compilation of the results was completed in March 2010). This poll is the tenth in a series of similar opinion polls conducted in Australia (the previous poll was conducted in March 2006). A summary of the results is as follows.

Approximately 50% rated Japan-Australia relations as “excellent” or “good.” 25% answered that Japan and Australia should be closer in every respect , 37% answered that the current relationship should be maintained, and 30% answered that there should be more distance between the two countries (the responses from the previous poll were 27%, 66%, and 1%, respectively).

In response to the question of whether Japan is a reliable friend of Australia, 60% said “no” while 20% said “yes.” This is in direct contrast to the previous poll, in which approximately 10% answered “no” and 60% answered “yes.” In response to the question of whether Japan is culturally different and difficult to understand, the number of people agreeing or strongly agreeing increased to approximately 80% from approximately 60% in the previous poll.

As to the question of whether Japan is active enough in world affairs, given its economic size, 51% of the respondents answered negatively (in the previous poll, 58% answered affirmatively).

Regarding the whaling issue, 59% either disagreed or strongly disagreed to whaling off Japan. There were many anti-whaling responses for each question (no questions about whaling were asked in the previous poll). 

The Japanese version has a fuller explanation of the results as well as graphs.


Australia and the World: Public Opinion and Foreign Policy, May 31, 2010, Lowry Institute.

6th annual survey of Australian public opinion on a range of foreign policy issues. New questions this year cover the Rudd Government’s handling of foreign policy issues during its first term in office, whether Australia should develop nuclear weapons, attitudes towards Indonesia and US power, sanctions against Fiji and the morality of Australia’s foreign policy.

More and more Australians view China's economic growth positively, but think that China will become a military threat to Australia within 20 years: 46 percent of those surveyed believe China will be a threat, with 19 percent of them rating the possibility as "very likely. Fifty-five percent of the 1,001 people polled consider China the world's top economic power, compared with 32 percent choosing the US, the survey revealed.

Though Australians see Washington's economic power as waning, the number of people strongly backing the Anzus Treaty (the Australia, New Zealand, US Security Treaty) and a military alliance with Washington was 86 percent, up from 63 percent three years ago. 

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