Autonomous vehicles not that popular in Japan

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Would you pay 100,000 yen for emergency braking assistance system? graph of japanese statistics

As this is very closely related to my current work, this survey from Nippon Research Center on autonomous driving is very interesting to me.

Demographics

Between the 1st and 7th of July 2015 1,200 members of the Japanese public were randomly selected and interviewed face-to-face. 50.3% of the sample were female, 6.0% in their teens, 12.4% in their twenties, 16.2% in their thirties, 17.8% in their forties, 15.2% in their fifties, 18.1% in their sixties, and 14.5% in their seventies.

In Q1, the four levels mentioned are described in this document. Level 1 is simple automation of a single function in specific conditions, like maintaining speed while using cruise control. Level 2 controls multiple function, like automated parking that exercising acceleration, braking and steering simultaneously. Level 3 is autonomous driving in specific situations, like motorway driving, and finally Level 4 is 100% full automation in all situations. As far as I am aware, Japanese manufacturers are at Level 2 for parking, lane keeping, etc, and although there are demonstrations of Level 3-like behaviour, they are very canned. Google are probably high Level 3, and Tesla claim Level 3 for motorways, but I don’t really believe it.

I love the smug Eikichi Yazawa’s “Look no hands!” in this ad:


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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.

Demographics

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.
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Mount Fuji top Japan destination for Chinese

Would you like to visit Japan in the future? graph of japanese statisticsA recent survey from the Nippon Research Center looked at tourism to Japan. It was part of an omnibus survey, with another six topics covered, but none of the others directly related to Japan.

Demographics

The exact date of the survey was not reported, but 5,000 people were interviewed by both face-to-face and internet-based questionnaires. There were exactly 50:50 male and female, 28.0% between 15 and 29, 28.0% in their thirties, 28.0% in their forties, and 16.0% in their fifties. There were 370 people selected from each of the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Shenyang, and 210 people from each of 15 other cities.

I’m surprised by Mount Fuji being so high in the list, but perhaps it is the only place most people can recall, just as everyone would say “The Great Wall” about China. It’s also a surprise to see both Osaka and Nagoya outdoing Tokyo, although if you add up all the areas of Tokyo…
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Nine in ten apprehensive purchasing Chinese foods

Food safety is a big topic here in Japan, with the memory of poison gyoza fresh in many people’s mind, and raw vegetables from China in particular shunned by many consumers. To see what exactly is happening, Nippon Research Center recently conducted a survey into food safety issues.

Demographics

Between the 2nd and 14th of April 2008 1,200 people were randomly chosen based on the population distribution from the 2005 census data. 200 sample points were chosen and from each point 6 people agreed to face-to-face interviews. 50.4% of the sample were female, 6.2% in their teens, 15.1% in their twenties, 17.9% in their thirties, 15.3% in their forties, 18.4% in their fifties, 15.9% in their sixties, and 11.2% in their seventies.

I’d like to say a quick hello to any readers who might have joined me from Slashfood, who have been kind enough to cover a couple of articles from me in the last few weeks. This one is just to show I do serious food topics too!

Not surprisingly, China’s image is horrendous, but there is one particular Chinese export that people do not seem to mind, or at least don’t think about it when purchasing. That product is Oolong and other teas, and one new tea in particular, Suntory’s Black Oolong Tea, advertised as one product that canhelp in the fight against metabolic syndrome, has in the two years since launch sold round about 75 billion yen’s worth (around 750 million US dollars) of tea according to a television programme I saw at the weekend, representing close to half a billion 350 ml bottles! Its adverts unashamedly features subtitled Chinese actors eating Chinese food. Click through to view the television commercials.

Suntory Oolong Tea stills

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TV fuelling healthy food sales

Getting the latest (allegedly) healthy food introduced on shows like Aru-Aru Daijiten can result in the product being sold out not just the day after, but for weeks on end. The biggest effect I remember was when they introduced CoQ10, resulting in Nature Made being out of stock and on back order for months, and since the program (about 18 months ago, I think) I have never again seen Nature Made’s CoQ10 in stores in Japan, although apparently they do still make it. This survey on health foods seems more geared towards foodstuffs than supplements, though.

Nippon Research Center Ltd asked 2,200 people of both sexes, of whom 1,165 cooperated with the survey, aged between 15 and 79 from all around the country.
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