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8 in 10 Japanese Concerned Russian Aggression Would Inspire China ー Poll

In the Sankei Shimbun and Fuji News Network joint opinion poll in March, 62.8% were “against nuclear sharing” but believed “it should still be discussed.”

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Sankei Shimbun and Fuji News Network (FNN) conducted a joint opinion poll on March 19 and 20, seeking the views of respondents on domestic and international issues in the news. 

The poll revealed that a staggering 84.2% of respondents were “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could lead to Chinese military aggression causing a crisis in Taiwan or the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture.

Cabinet Approval Ratings

Meanwhile, the approval rating for Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet was 65.8%, an increase of 3.2 percentage points from the previous poll conducted on February 19 and 20. The disapproval rating was 27.9%, down 2.1 percentage points from the mid-February poll.

Cabinet approval ratings have remained high, exceeding 60% for six consecutive months since the Kishida administration took office in October 2021.

RELATED: Polls Show Kishida Administration Enjoys Strong Support from All Generations

Nuclear Sharing

Under the “nuclear sharing” concept, United States nuclear weapons would be positioned and Japan would be involved in decisions on the weapons’ use. Of those polled, 62.8% were “against nuclear sharing” but believed “it should still be discussed,” while 20.3% believed that “discussions should be held toward nuclear sharing.”

RELATED: ‘Reality of World Security’: Shinzo Abe’s Nuclear Sharing Talk Sparks Debate

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

Handling of Ukraine Invasion

The poll also found that more “approve” (57.6%) than “do not approve” (29.0%) of Kishida’s response to the invasion of Ukraine. Over half (58.8%) believed that economic sanctions against Russia were “somewhat effective,” while 6.1% believed them to be “very effective.”

RELATED: Ukraine Nightmare: Fumio Kishida Seeks to Prevent an Escalation to Nuclear War

Relations with South Korea

A majority of those polled (73.7%) said that Japan’s relations with South Korea, where President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol will form a conservative government once he assumes office on May 10, “will remain unchanged.” Only 18.7% said that relations “will improve.” The results highlight the public’s low expectations for the soured relationship.

RELATED: Hope Emerges with President-elect Yoon for Repairing Japan-South Korea Relations

COVID-19 Measures

In addition, 58.9% “approve of” the government’s measures against COVID-19, surpassing disapproval at 34.1%.

Regarding the “temporary special benefits” that the ruling party is considering for pensioners in response to the impact of the coronavirus, more than half (54.5%) were against, surpassing those who were in favor (41.2%).

RELATED: COVID-19: New Immigration Rules Crack Open Japan’s Closed Door

Gasoline Price Trigger Clause

When asked if the government should unfreeze the “trigger clause,” which would partially reduce gasoline taxes in the face of continuing high oil prices, 68.6% responded affirmatively.

Party Support

Party support was at 37.1% for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and 3.3% for its coalition partner Komeito. Among opposition parties, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Japan Innovation Party both had the highest support at 6.6%, followed by the Japanese Communist Party (2.2%), the Democratic Party for the People (0.7%), the Reiwa Shinsengumi (0.5%), the Party that Protects Those Who Do Not Pay the NHK License Fee (0.5%), and the Social Democratic Party (0.3%). Over a third did not support any party (39.8%).

How the Poll was Conducted

The survey was conducted over the phone using random digit dialing (RDD), a sampling method for randomly generating phone numbers according to the gender and age bracket in the respective survey areas, until a target number of responses was reached. The ratio of fixed-line phones to mobile phones in the poll was 4 to 6. 

When a reply about support for the Kishida Cabinet was unclear, the question was rephrased by expanding the options to include “somewhat approve” or “somewhat disapprove.” 

The survey covered a sample of 1,029 men and women aged 18 or older across the country.

(Read the report in Japanese at this link.)

Author: The Sankei Shimbun