81% of Japanese want nation’s contributions abroad to focus on nonmilitary areas: survey


A Jiji Press opinion poll has found that 81.0 percent of respondents believe Japan’s international contributions should continue to be focused on nonmilitary areas.

Only 10.1 percent said that the country should boost cooperation in military fields, according to the interview-based survey conducted on 2,000 adults during four days through last Monday. Valid responses were received from 63.7 percent of those contacted.

The poll revealed the public’s strong opposition to Japan carrying out activities that could lead to the use of force. The results come as a set of government-sponsored national security bills are being debated at the Diet, that would significantly expand the scope of the Self-Defense Forces’ activities abroad.

In his statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday that Japan will “contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world more than ever before.”

The poll also showed that 37.4 percent think a meeting between the top leaders of Japan and South Korea should take place this year, compared with 54.8 percent who said that Japan should not necessarily stick to the idea of holding the bilateral summit by the year-end.

Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye have yet to hold a one-on-one meeting since they took office, in December 2012 and February 2013, respectively. Relations between the two countries remains strained due to differing views on wartime history and territorial disputes.