NRC, Nippon Research Centre, a member of Gallup International Association, recently published the results of a shallow but broad survey on recent news topics.
Between the 29th of February and the 12th of March 2012 1,200 people between the ages of 15 and 79 randomly selected from a geographically-sorted residents database were asked to complete a survey, the results of which were weighed by overall national demographics. 50.7% of the sample were female, 6.3% in their teens, 32.9% in their twenties or thirties, 33.8% in their forties or fifties, and 27.0% in their sixties or seventies.
To explain a few of the topics that you might be unfamiliar with, in Q6 currently, if a female member of the royal family or one of the two other aristocratic families marries a commoner, she becomes a commoner too. Given the lack of males in the current line of succession, the plan is that if one of the females marries, her husband will join the royal family. This is separate from the question of a female emperor – I think the current system allows it, but male heirs take priority.
Q8, direct elections for the prime minister, would need the constitution to be amended, and I thought a fundamental feature of any parliamentary system was that the prime minister is chosen by the elected members of the chamber. Are there countries where such elections are held?
Q9, One Osaka, is the most important grassroots political movement, nay revolution, in Japan today. The charismatic leader, Toru Hashimoto, an ex-lawyer and TV celeb, actually has a vision, and recent opinion polls in the Osaka area have indicated that his party (which still has no national policy documents, let alone candidates) could win around 80% of the seats. Ampontan is quite the fan, and has many articles on the man, each much more informative that all the professional English-language press put together.
Q1: Tokyo University and others are investigating starting the academic year in autumn instead of spring. Do you agree or disagree with this? (Sample size=1,200)
Q2: Consumption tax may be raised from the current 5% to 8% in April 2014, then 10% in October 2015. Do you agree or disagree with this? (Sample size=1,200)
Q3: The age where one can start to draw one’s pension may in the future be raised to between 68 and 70 years old. Do you agree or disagree with this? (Sample size=1,200)
Q4: There may be a “My Number” scheme introduced, giving each citizen a numerical ID for use when paying taxes, obtaining medical services, etc. Do you agree or disagree with this? (Sample size=1,200)
Q5: The age of majority may be lowered from the current 20 years old to 18 years old. Do you agree or disagree with this? (Sample size=1,200)
Q6: A female royal bloodline may be established. Do you agree or disagree with this? (Sample size=1,200)
Q7: Japan may participate in the TPP, Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would result in almost all import duties being eliminated by 2015. Do you agree or disagree with this? (Sample size=1,200)
Q8: There are discussions about direct elections for the prime minister. Do you agree or disagree with this? (Sample size=1,200)
Q9: One Osaka may move into national politics. Do you agree or disagree with this? (Sample size=1,200)
There was also a detailed breakdown by age, sex, and area of residence. Some interesting figures were older people were more in favour of raising consumption tax, and almost twice as keen on lowering the age of majority than those teens who would be directly affected by any change. TPP also was more favoured by elders, with all these trends surprising to me.
The northern areas of Tohoku and Hokkaido, being largely agricultural, were not suprisingly more opposed to TPP, but conversely more in favour of female royal bloodlines. The Kinki area around Osaka was not surprisingly most in favour of One Osaka standing for national election, and true to Osaka’s image as the home of merchants, it was also most in favour of TPP.