Society in the Japan of 2008: part 1 of 3


Should love of one's country be fostered amongst the citizens? graph of japanese statistics[part 1] [part 2] [part 3]

This rather epic survey from the Cabinet Office Japan will be split into multiple parts and posted over the next few days. Here they looked at awareness of society, covering four main areas of country and society, the state of society today, evaluation of government, and how society works. A translation of a similar survey from last year may be found here and two years ago is here.


10,000 people aged 20 or older were randomly selected from the entire Japanese population to take part in the survey. From that group, 5,494 people agreed to take part in face-to-face interviews conducted between the 7th and 24th of February 2008. 53.8% of the sample was female, 8.1% in their twenties, 15.3% in their thirties, 15.8% in their forties, 21.3% in their fifties, 21.9% in their sixties, 16.5% in their seventies, and 3.1% aged eighty or older. 74.7% were married, 11.8% were divorced or widowed, and 13.5% were unmarried.

The results for love of one’s country (not patriotism, which is a different word in both English and Japanese) in Q1 and Q2 were interesting, but Q3 was surprising that so large a minority thought that looking out for themselves was more important. I’d have liked to have seen a follow-up question to investigate why people chose each of their answers.

Q4SQ is perhaps misleading to the casual reader; over 40% take part in environmental activities, but as most large cities require separation of different kinds of rubbish, the surprise to me is more that the figure is so low.

Research results

Q1: Compared to other people, do you thinking that you have stronger or weaker feelings of love for your country? (Sample size=5,494)

Much stronger19.4%
Perhaps stronger37.6%
Can’t say either way, don’t know6.1%
Perhaps weaker6.1%
Much weaker, no love at all0.9%

Q2: Do you think it will be necessary in the future to foster more feelings of love for your country amongst the citizens? (Sample size=5,494)

Think so80.0%
Don’t think so10.0%
Don’t know10.0%

That’s perhaps a suspiciously exact set of figures!

Q3: Given the two opinions “One should focus more on country and society” and “Satisfying one’s personal lifestyle is a more important view”, which is closer to your own opinion? (Sample size=5,494)

One should focus more on country and society52.7%
Satisfying one’s personal lifestyle is a more important view37.0%
Can’t say one over the other9.2%
Don’t know1.2%

Q4: As a member of society, in your day to day life do you think you are usefully contributing to society? (Sample size=5,494)

Think so (to SQ)69.2%
Don’t think so28.5%
Don’t know2.3%

Q4SQ: What sorts of things do you do in your day to day life to usefully contributing to society? (Sample size=3,802, multiple answer)

Activities related to nature, environmental protection (beautification, recycling, milk pack collection, etc)41.2%
Activities related to social welfare (old folk, handicapped care, helping out neighbours, etc)35.9%
Local area activities (helping at celebrations, with hardships, serving on resident committees, local fire safety, anti-crime patrols)35.6%
Through my own work25.6%
Activities related to road safety (monitoring children going to school, etc)23.1%
Through family, children upbringing22.7%
Disaster prevention, aid activities22.3%
Activities related to physical education, sport, culture (sport, recreation coaching, festivals, school clubs coaching)19.9%
Activities related to health, treatment (hospital volunteer, etc)16.8%
Donation activities, charity sales15.1%
Activities at public facilities (public child care, museum volunteer guide, etc)14.1%
Activities related to child development (boy, girl scouts, etc)13.8%
Activities related to international exchange (interpreting, refugee support, technical support, homestay, etc)10.9%
Teaching, assisting with education activities (science, language, calligraphy, etc)10.4%
Don’t know1.4%

Q5: Do you think that in the future Japanese should hold benefit for all citizens over benefit for themselves as important or vice versa? (Sample size=5,494)

Benefit for all citizens should be more important51.7%
Benefit for one personally should be more important31.6%
Can’t say one over the other14.3%
Don’t know2.1%

[part 1] [part 2] [part 3]

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