Japanese society in 2011: part 1 of 3

Should more patriotism be fostered amongst the citizens? graph of japanese statistics[part 1] [part 2] [part 3]

The Cabinet Office Japan recently carried out a survey into society.

Demographics

Between the 20th of January and the 6th of February 2011 10,000 people aged 20 or older selected at random from residency registers from all over the country were approached for interview and 6,338 people agreed to a face-to-face interview. 53.8% of the sample were female, 7.9% in their twenties, 14.0% in their thirties, 16.6% in their forties, 17.2% in their fifties, 23.4% in their sixties, 15.7% in their seventies, and 5.4% aged eighty or older.

I’ve highlighted Q2 on love for Japan, which I think is a topic that I’d like to see explored more to find out exactly what aspects of patriotism people think is missing. Patriotism is of course a loaded word, and I get the feeling that it is not wanting more people to stand up for the national anthem that 81% have in mind, but just to get younger people who are disengaged from society back into the fold, so teaching love for the country gets everyone singing from the same sheet figuratively rather than literally. Or is it just that my cup is half-full? The first and third answers to Q9 (coming tomorrow) is part of what makes me take this stance.
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Japanese juvenile delinquency

How has serious juvenile crime changed in the last five years? graph of japanese statisticsThis is a survey I wanted to split into two parts, but it didn’t really lend itself to it, so instead here is a big survey from the Cabinet Office Japan into juvenile delinquency.

Demographics

Between the 25th of November and the 5th of December 2010 3,000 members of the general public selected at random from resident registers were approached for face-to-face interviews. 1,886 people, or 62.9% of the sample, agreed to do so. 54.5% of the sample were female, 9.9% in their twenties, 16.3% in their thirties, 16.1% in their forties, 16.4% in their fifties, 22.1% in their sixties, and 19.1% aged seventy or older.

I must admit to not having seen much in the way of delinquency. I don’t think kids hanging out outside convenience stores really is an issue, and although I occasionally hear noisy motorcycle gangs, I don’t associate it with delinquency, just criminality and ineffective policing.
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Animal welfare: Pet problems

Is it necessary to euthanise 270,000 cats and dogs a year? graph of japanese statisticsThe Cabinet Office Japan released the results of a survey last month into animal welfare. Note that the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals mentioned later in the survey has an official English translation, if you’re interested in that.

Demographics

Between the 2nd and 12th of September 2010 3,000 people over the age of 20 chosen at random from resident registers were approached to complete a face-to-face questionnaire. 1,939 people were available and completed the survey, a response rate of 64.6%. 54.8% of the sample were male, 9.2% in their twenties, 16.1% in their thirties, 16.5% in their forties, 17.1% in their fifties, 21.2% in their sixties, and 19.9% aged seventy or older.

I remember as a child my brother (or it could have been me…) drawing a picture of what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he chose to be in charge of the euthanasia section of the local pound.

The Act on Welfare and Management of Animals is pretty tame; the average Japanese pet shop has cages stacked two or three high giving dogs little space to stand, let alone play. They get put on display after about six weeks, so don’t get weaned properly, and there are persistant rumours that if they get past their sell-by date of around five months or so, they get sent back to the breeder for “disposal”.
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Animal welfare: Keeping pets

Do you like or dislike keeping pets? graph of japanese statisticsThe Cabinet Office Japan released the results of a survey last month into animal welfare. Note that the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals mentioned later in the survey has an official English translation, if you’re interested in that.

Demographics

Between the 2nd and 12th of September 2010 3,000 people over the age of 20 chosen at random from resident registers were approached to complete a face-to-face questionnaire. 1,939 people were available and completed the survey, a response rate of 64.6%. 54.8% of the sample were male, 9.2% in their twenties, 16.1% in their thirties, 16.5% in their forties, 17.1% in their fifties, 21.2% in their sixties, and 19.9% aged seventy or older.

Comparing the answers for cats and dogs, I don’t really know why pet cats run twice the risk of getting their wedding tackle removed!
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Staggering opposition to staggered holidays

Do you support or oppose staggering holiday periods? graph of japanese statisticsOne of the Democratic Party of Japan’s good ideas from my point of view was to propose staggered holidays across the country rather than the current situation of all 120 million taking their May Golden Week holiday all at the same time. To see how this proposal was being received by the public, the Cabinet Office Japan conducted a survey into this topic.

Demographics

Between the 21st and 31st of October 2010 3,000 people selected at random from resident registers were approached to take part in a survey, and 1,953 people, or 65.1% agreed to a face-to-face interview. The sex breakdown was not reported.

Currently in Japan there is the Golden Week holiday over the end of April and the start of May when the vast majority of the public have a holiday, plus four public holidays are set to be on a particular Monday in a particular month. The proposal from the government is to split the country from north to south into five blocks and assign a week’s spring and autumn holiday period (the autumn holiday being new) to each block, and move the four Monday holidays to a fixed date and no longer make them public holidays.

I used to be very much in favour of this idea, but on reading a few opinions from other foreigners I’m a bit less keen on the idea, the reason being that the ideal situation would be to make easier to take holidays at one’s own convenience, just like most of the rest of the world. One benefit, however, would be an easing of traffic by spreading it over five weeks, and hopefully lower prices as hotels now have a ten week busy period rather than the current situation of just one week of complete overbooking, and the attendant increased money circulation from more people being able to take a holiday rather than just staying at home as they cannot afford to travel.
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Japanese megacities: concrete versus greenery, part 2 of 2

A recent survey from the Cabinet Office Japan looked at Japan’s three large metropolitan areas, specifically at international development and preserving the green belt and other green areas.

Demographics

Between the 15th of July and 1st of August 2010 5,000 people randomly selected from resident registeries all over the country were approached for face-to-face interviews. 3,283 people, or 65.7% were available and agreed to take part. 51.9% of the sample were female, 12.3% in their twenties, 15.4% in their thirties, 16.5% in their forties, 18.1% in their fifties, 20.5% in their sixties, and 19.2% aged seventy or older.

There’s unfortunately no nice data to plot from the questions below, so instead here’s a picture of a park from ykanazawa1999 on flickr.

A small Japanese park

The amount of green space is pretty depressing – I live on the edge of the Osaka conurbation so fortunately there’s a bit of green around, but in the one hour train ride to work, barring river banks I see almost nothing but concrete by the side of the tracks. As there seems to be little evidence of green belt protection laws in Japan, it’s only the mountains that stop the builders, sadly.
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Japanese megacities: concrete versus greenery, part 1 of 2

Do you find Japan's megacities attractive? graph of japanese statisticsA recent survey from the Cabinet Office Japan looked at Japan’s three large metropolitan areas, specifically at international development and preserving the green belt and other green areas.

Demographics

Between the 15th of July and 1st of August 2010 5,000 people randomly selected from resident registeries all over the country were approached for face-to-face interviews. 3,283 people, or 65.7% were available and agreed to take part. 51.9% of the sample were female, 12.3% in their twenties, 15.4% in their thirties, 16.5% in their forties, 18.1% in their fifties, 20.5% in their sixties, and 19.2% aged seventy or older.

Q5SQ is interesting from my foreigner perspective and coming from a country where inward investment is a key strategy, with only one in five Japanese in favour of it. Perhaps the term is not too familiar, but from what I have heard there are a lot of barriers preventing entry by foreign corporations, so many items end up being produced under licence by local firms.
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Japanese working overseas, and overseas workers in Japan

How important is understanding Japanese customs for foreign workers? graph of japanese statisticsThe Cabinet Office Japan recently took a look at the international movement of workers, which for this survey was specifically Japanese wanting to work overseas and foreigners coming to Japan.

Demographics

Between the 15th and 25th of July 2010 3,000 people randomly selected from resident registration information were approached for face-to-face interviews. Of the 3,000, 1,913 people, or 63.8% were available and answered the questions. 54.0% of the sample were female, 8.6% in their twenties, 16.0% in their thirties, 17.8% in their forties, 18.6% in their fifties, 19.8% in their sixties, and 19.2% aged 70 or older. There were a few other demographic questions, but they were sufficiently interesting to be presented in distinct tables below.

I wonder if the last two questions about foreign workers are in any way related to this article from Ampontan, in particular this quote from Naoto Kan, who is Prime Minister at the time of writing, but may not be by the time you read this, in an interview responding to a question on job creation:

The first is to create hiring by such means as long-term care, for which there is long-term, latent demand, and relaxing the issuance of visas to foreigners.

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Suspicious deaths have suspiciously few autopsies in Japan

Did you know that there has been overlooked suspicious deaths? graph of japanese statisticsJapan has one of the lowest rates of autopsies in the developed world, with a mere one in ten deaths resulting in one, so to find out more about people’s opinions this survey by the Cabinet Office Japan took a look at the prevention of overlooking suspicious deaths.

Demographics

Between the 15th and 25th of July 2010 3,000 members of the public over the age of twenty selected at random from residency registers were approached for face-to-face interviews. Of the 3,000, 1,913 or 63.8% were successfully interviewed. However, no demographic information was given, although as with all Cabinet Office Japan surveys, they tend to attract much older people than the usual internet-based questionnaires.

I think it’s fair enough to assume that the police are relatively happy with the current state of affairs – writing things off as suicides (if you’re going to push someone off a building, take their shoes off first and line them up neatly afterwards) or accidental deaths keeps the crime rate and the paperwork down, but having said that, I feel that even if they did do more autopsies the Japan murder rate would still be one of the lowest in the world.

Note that as described in the text for Q2, the word that translates to “autopsy” means just an external examination. A further word in Q4 also translates to “autopsy”, but is further defined as the disection kind of forensic autopsy, the kind that most English speakers will associate with the word “autopsy”.
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Chemical substances in Japan: 2 of 2

Is the information on product labels easy to understand? graph of japanese statisticsA recent very detailed survey from the Cabinet Office Japan looking at chemical substances in the immediate environment found that, as is the case in English, “chemical substances” is a scary word, despite of course everything being made out of chemical substances, and there’s dangerous natural chemical substances and perfectly safe man-made ones as well as vice versa.

Demographics

Between the 17th and 27th of June 2010 3,000 members of the general public aged twenty or older selected at random from resident registries were approached for face-to-face interviews. 1,942 peope, or 64.7%, completed the interviews; the non-interviewed included 383 refusals, 367 not in at the time, 118 had moved, 74 people were away from the home for a long period of time, 48 addresses were unclear, and 68 people were not available for other reasons. 51.4% of the sample were female, 8.8% in their twenties, 14.3% in their thirties, 17.3% in their forties, 19.0% in their fifties, 24.1% in their sixties, and 16.5% aged seventy or older. Furthermore, 14.4% only completed elementary or middle school, 44.0% high school, 41.1% had attended or were currently attending university, and 0.5% didn’t answer.

Note that in Q8, since this survey is conducted face-to-face, and older people are more heavily-represented since there is more chance of finding them at home (although sometimes not quite able to answer questions…), the internet appears relatively low in the list.
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