What Japan thinks of recent news topics


Do you agree with directly electing the prime minister? graph of japanese statisticsNRC, 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.

Research results

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)

Somewhat agree22.1%
Somewhat disagree8.9%
Don’t know50.8%

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)

Somewhat agree17.2%
Somewhat disagree27.8%
Don’t know6.8%

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)

Somewhat agree6.5%
Somewhat disagree27.2%
Don’t know10.3%

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)

Somewhat agree25.4%
Somewhat disagree19.8%
Don’t know26.0%

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)

Somewhat agree27.7%
Somewhat disagree17.8%
Don’t know13.8%

Q6: A female royal bloodline may be established. Do you agree or disagree with this? (Sample size=1,200)

Somewhat agree30.1%
Somewhat disagree5.3%
Don’t know33.1%

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)

Somewhat agree18.5%
Somewhat disagree15.6%
Don’t know45.3%

Q8: There are discussions about direct elections for the prime minister. Do you agree or disagree with this? (Sample size=1,200)

Somewhat agree33.7%
Somewhat disagree5.6%
Don’t know22.5%

Q9: One Osaka may move into national politics. Do you agree or disagree with this? (Sample size=1,200)

Somewhat agree25.3%
Somewhat disagree10.1%
Don’t know35.2%

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.

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  1. April 11, 2012 @ 02:41

    It’s crazy to me that so many people oppose a sales tax increase when the driving catalyst for the increase was 3/11 (that my home region had 3x the amount of sales consumption tax). I get that people dislike tax increases in general but at the same time they present no alternatives

    What I’d like to know, however, how many 18 years-olds are in favour of lowering the age of majority to 18. Japan would actually afford them the right to vote; something my home country does not afford to its citizens living abroad. Then again, it may also mean that 18 year-olds would be tried as adults.

  2. hitori said,
    April 11, 2012 @ 07:27

    Interesting. Lets compare this to where I live currently, namely the Netherlands.
    Q1: school years always start at the end of August here.
    Q2: It is still a lot lower than here. Commodity products etc are taxed on 20% and the government is planning to raise this even further O.o (the tax on fuel is the highest of Europe and even more ridiculous)
    Q3: Pension age has recently lifted to 67 years and will likely increase even more. (Japan is still the country with the highest life expectancy (I think ))
    Q4: Have that already here. Social Security number is now used for almost everything.
    Q5: Legal age is 18. But drinking alcohol (beer, not strong drinks) is legal at the age of 16.
    Q6: We have a queen at the top of our current democratic-monarchy.
    (I am aware that Japan is not the Netherlands though)
    I wonder what the future and these plans will bring to Japan.

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