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In 2017, The Genron NPO conducted the Japan-U.S. opinion poll, the Japan-South Korea poll and the Japan-China poll, which pertain to the issues of peace in Northeast Asia, where tensions are mounting over North Korea's nuclear weapons development program, in addition to the Japan-China survey and the Japan-South Korea survey regarding national sentiments toward each other's country and mutual understanding, and one regarding the challenges facing democracy in the world today.
As regards the opinion surveys in Northeast Asia, The Genron NPO has been carrying out a joint poll annually with our counterpart think tanks in China and South Korea, respectively. The joint poll with China has been conducted continuously for 13 years since 2005 while that with South Korea for five years since 2012.
In particular, the findings of the joint polls with China provide valuable data as there is no other comparative survey in the world that regularly follows Chinese people's mind-sets and views about China's policy issues.
In addition, The Genron NPO conducted a Japan-U.S. opinion survey in 2017 jointly with the University of Maryland, focusing on the attitude of Japanese and American people toward the issue of North Korea's nuclear development.
In Japan, The Genron NPO carried out its own opinion poll on Japanese people's views of Japan-U.S. relations, on the occasion of the half-year anniversary of the Trump administration.
These opinion surveys are not conducted in isolation but in tandem with the "Track 1.5" dialogue that The Genron NPO hosts with a broad range of officials, executives and scholars from concerned countries.
Specifically, The Genron NPO has been organizing the Tokyo-Beijing Forum, our annual dialogue with China, since 2005, by using the findings of the annual Japan-China joint opinion poll as key references for discussions at the forum. In the same fashion, we have been holding the annual Japan-Korea Future Dialogue since 2012.
The Tokyo-Beijing Forum has been held without interruption, even when Japan-China intergovernmental diplomacy was at a standoff. Today, the bilateral forum has become an all-important venue for private-sector diplomacy between Japan and China, and is having a profound impact on the policymaking processes in both countries.
We have been conducting private-sector dialogues based on the findings of these opinion surveys as we attach particular importance to public opinion in the countries concerned in attempting to solve cross-border or global issues. In Northeast Asia, the spread of nationalistic sentiments is becoming a major obstacle to solving issues through intergovernmental channels of negotiations, resulting in frequent vacuums in dialogue between governments. The attempt to address challenges on the basis of public opinion and with the backing of many ordinary people is commensurate with the approach of citizen participation in a political democracy.
Now that the findings of the opinion surveys covering Japan, China, South Korea and the United States have been made available, the Genron NPO carried out in 2017 a Japan-U.S. expert dialogue, and a four-nation dialogue covering Japan, the United States, China and South Korea in an attempt to address the issues of peace in Northeast Asia where tensions are mounting due to North Korea's nuclear program.
We are addressing the issues of peace in Northeast Asia against the backdrop of what we called the "No-War Pledge," which was adopted at the Tokyo-Beijing Forum in 2013. At that time, we proposed spreading the motivation behind the pledge to the whole of Northeast Asia. To this end, we considered it necessary to track public opinion trends regarding peace in neighboring countries.
Aside from those surveys, we again conducted in 2017 an opinion poll regarding the issues facing "democracy," the reinforcement of which is another Genron mission, jointly with our counterpart think tanks in India and Indonesia by adding a new partner in Malaysia.
This report incorporates the findings of the two-nation opinion surveys between Japan and China, between Japan and South Korea, and between Japan and the United States, of the poll in Japan regarding Japan-U.S. relations upon the six-month anniversary of the Trump administration, and of the four-nation survey on democracy, covering Japan, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. We sincerely hope that this report will be a useful source of information for the advancement of peace and democracy in the Asian region.
President, The Genron NPO
March 1, 2018
Opinion Poll Archive (2017)
⇒ The Japan-China joint survey shows improved sentiment among citizens
⇒ The Japan-China Joint Opinion Survey 2017
⇒ The Japan-South Korea Joint Opinion Poll 2017
How can Japanese and South Koreans cooperate in future for the sake of peace in Northeast Asia?
⇒ The 5th Japan-South Korea Joint Public Opinion Poll (2017) Analysis Report on Comparative Data
⇒ Japanese Public Opinion on US Leadership and the Role of Japan