What should Japan do regarding overseas economic aid? graph of japanese statisticsThe Cabinet Office Japan recently conducted a detailed survey into diplomacy, a topic they revisit about once every two years or so.


Between the 29th of September and the 16th of October 2011, 3,000 people aged twenty or older were randomly selected from residency registers were approached for one-to-one interiews. Of the 3,000, 1,912 people, or 63.7% were resident at the adress and willing to answer the questions. 52.5% of the sample were female, 8.2% in their twenties, 14.7% in their thirties, 14.8% int heir forties, 16.6% in their fifties, 22.8% in their sixties, and 22.8% aged seventy or older. 44.4% were employed, 9.8% were self-employed, 2.9% worked in a family business, and 42.9% were one of full-time homekeepers, students, unemployed, or retired.

The second half looked at actual diplomatic strategy. I was suprised to see a vast majority favouring maintaining or increasing current UN PKO activities. In calmer areas they can contribute, but I’m not really sure how Japan’s Self Defence Forces would react if there is shooting involved, and with recent talk about dispatch to South Sudan, I feel that they’d just get in the way. I remember in Iraq how they needed another country’s army to form a buffer between them and any potential threats.

Research results

Q4: Developed countries give economic aid such as loans and technical assistance to developing countries. Thinking about the various facets, what should Japan do regarding economic aid? (Sample size=1,912)

Should proactively offer (to SQ1) 27.4%
Current levels are fine 47.4%
Should decrease if possible (to SQ2) 17.8%
Should stop (to SQ2) 2.6%
Don’t know 4.9%

Q4SQ1: Why do you think Japan should proactively offer economic aid such as loans and technical assistance to developing countries? (Sample size=523, multiple answer)

Because we Japan should continue to cooperate with those countries that gave support after the Great Eastern Earthquake 60.8%
Economic cooperation is an important means for promoting Japanese diplomacy 50.3%
To help solve developing countries’ environmental problems, Japan’s techniques and expertise should be applied 48.6%
If developing nations have neither political safety nor economic development, Japan’s economy will not grow 43.2%
Aid for developing countries helps towards securing energy resources 42.1%
To contribute towards Japan’s economy by allowing Japanese companies to advance overseas, etc 41.7%
As a developed nation there is a humanitarian duty to support developing countries 41.3%
To contribute towards stability of developing countries, to further the aims of global peace 40.3%
As a large world economy, Japan’s international responsibility is to help developing nations suffering from accumulated debt 31.9%
If Japan only is not cooperating economically, she will be isolated internationally 25.0%
As China and other new developed nations are noticably advancing into developing nations, Japan needs to maintain its presence 20.5%
Other 0.0%
No particular reason 1.1%
Don’t know 0.2%

Q4SQ2: Why do you think Japan should decrease or stop giving economic aid such as loans and technical assistance to developing countries? (Sample size=390, multiple answer)

Japan’s domestic economy is in bad shape 75.9%
Japan’s finances are in bad shape 55.4%
Don’t feel Japan’s economic aid is valued by the developing countries 29.2%
Current economic aid is not sufficiently meeting the needs of the area, and not enough of a benefit comes from it in many cases 29.0%
It’s not clear what sort of economic aid is happening 25.4%
Economic cooperation as a means for promoting Japanese diplomacy is not producing sufficient results 24.6%
Use and management of current economic cooperation with regard to equipment provisioning and relationships, etc, is not effective in many cases 15.1%
Other 1.5%
No particular reason 1.3%
Don’t know 0.5%

Q5: United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) are currently active in over 100 countries. Japan also has resources active in Cambodia, Golan Heights, East Timor, Nepal and other PKOs, and is also helping refugees in Iraq, and has been involved in monitoring elections in places like East Timor and Nepal. In order to contribute to the international community, in the future should Japan participate in PKO and other such activities? (Sample size=1,912)

Should proactively participate 32.5%
Should continue the current level of participation 51.1%
Should participate, but reduce level of participation 10.4%
Should not participate 1.0%
Other 0.3%
Don’t know 4.7%

Q6: There are currently discussions underway within the United Nations regarding expanding the UN Security Council to better represent some regions. What do you think about Japan becoming a permanent standing member of the UN Security Council? (Sample size=1,912)

Agree (to SQ1) 41.7%
Agree to some extent (to SQ1) 36.3%
Disagree to some extent (to SQ2) 4.4%
Disagree (to SQ2) 1.7%
Don’t know 15.8%

Q6SQ1: Why do you think Japan should become a standing member of the UN Security Council? (Sample size=1,493)

Japan is a major contributor to UN finances, so it is strange that she is not included in important decision-making 28.1%
Given Japan’s world status, Japan should proactively take part in the plans for building world peace 27.6%
As a peaceful non-nuclear state, Japan can usefully contribute towards world peace 22.2%
Japan’s opinion can be reflected in important decision-making by the UN 12.1%
As a representative for Asia, if Japan were a standing member of the UN Security Council it could redress the regional balance at the United Nations 8.9%
Other 0.1%
Don’t know 1.0%

Q6SQ2: Why do you think Japan should not become a standing member of the UN Security Council? (Sample size=117, multiple answer)

If Japan becomes a standing member, financial contributions towards the UN would increase 24.8%
If Japan becomes a standing member, she would have to proactively participate in UN military operations 22.2%
Even not being a standing member, Japan can sufficiently contribute internationally towards non-military areas such as economic, societal, and environmental issues 19.7%
If Japan becomes a standing member, the constitution would need to be amended 8.5%
The Security Council does not have the power to resolve world disputes 13.7%
Other 4.3%
Don’t know 6.8%

Q7: In order to develop economic relations with other nations, into which areas do you think emphasis should be placed? (Sample size=1,912, multiple answer)

Energy and mineral supply security 59.5%
Food supply security 42.2%
Support activities of Japanese companies overseas 41.2%
More assertive promotion of the Japan brand overseas 39.9%
Promotion of the removal of trade barriers (including FTA, EPA, BIT, WTO activities) 37.6%
Promote tourism to Japan 31.1%
Guarding of patent and other intellectual property rights 25.5%
Promote understanding of the Japanese economy view of other countries 20.8%
Promotion of direct investment into Japan 10.9%
Other 0.2%
Nowhere in particular 1.5%
Don’t know 5.3%

Q8: How do you think regarding protecting and supporting Japanese nationals who become involved in incidents overseas such as traffic accidents, crime, disease, terrorism, etc? (Sample size=1,912)

Individuals or their employer, etc should take responsibility 7.0%
Individuals or their employer, etc should take as much responsibility as possible, but for things they cannot do the government or embassies should help and support 33.8%
Although individuals or their employer, etc can take responsibility, government or embassies should proactively help and support 27.8%
Whatever the case may be, government or embassies should help and support 27.9%
Other 0.3%
Don’t know 3.1%

Q9: What roles do you think Japan should play in international society? (Sample size=1,912, multiple answer)

Including support personel, contribute toward the promotion of international peace, put effort into peaceful settlement of regional disputes, disarmament and non-proliferation 61.7%
Contribute towards the resolution of global issues such as climate problems 56.0%
Contribute towards world peace through disarmament, non-proliferation initiatives 41.0%
Contribute towards the development of a robust world economy 39.8%
Humanitarian aid for refugees, evacuees 38.0%
Collaboration towards the growth of developing nations 36.9%
Contribute towards the development of world science and technology 34.5%
Support international efforts to the spread of universal values such as freedom, democracy, fundamental human rights and the rule of law 33.3%
Contribute towards international cultural exchange through preservation of global heritage, etc 26.6%
Other 0.3%
Nothing in particular 1.0%
Don’t know 4.6%


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