Japan is not contributing enough to the international community relative to its economic power, according to a Foreign Ministry public opinion survey carried out in Southeast Asia.

Released this week, the survey of six countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations found that 43 percent of respondents in Malaysia believe Japan is doing its part, compared with 60 percent in a 1997 poll. In the Philippines, the figure slipped from 54 percent to 51 percent; in Singapore, from 32 percent to 30 percent; and in Thailand, from 62 percent to 32 percent.

Indonesia was the exception, where 80 percent of respondents said Japan is pulling its weight, compared with 71 percent in the previous poll. Vietnam, surveyed for the first time, had a rate of 63 percent.

The ministry plans to analyze the causes for the declines, an official said, without elaborating on what those questioned believed would be a fair share for Japan.

The poll has been carried out six times since 1978. The latest was conducted between May and September. Specific information on the survey, including the makeup of the pollees and their actual numbers, was not provided.

The poll found a general drop in the percentage of people who view Japan as having a military powerful enough to ensure its security, slipping from 30 percent in 1997 to 21 percent in Indonesia; from 33 percent to 25 percent in Malaysia; from 24 percent to 19 percent in the Philippines; and from 18 percent to 9 percent in Thailand.

It rose from 31 percent to 33 percent in Singapore, however.

The official said the ministry believes ongoing efforts by Japan to make people aware of its security policies may have led to the decline, with the Self-Defense Forces abiding by strict constraints and the nation maintaining its stance of not producing, possessing or allowing the entry of nuclear weapons into the country.

The poll also found that 45 percent of Indonesians believe Japan ensures its national security by maintaining a certain level of defense capabilities and friendly relations with other countries, compared with 27 percent in the previous survey.

The rate was 33 percent in Malaysia, up from 17 percent; 51 percent in the Philippines, up from 41 percent; and 34 percent in Thailand, up from 33 percent.

ASEAN includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

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