• Kyodo News

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A record 80 percent of the American public considers Japan a dependable country, according to the results of a Foreign Ministry survey.

A ministry official said the finding reflects the importance the new U.S. administration is placing on relations with its closest Asian ally.

When the same survey was conducted last year, figure was 67 percent for the general public.

The survey also covers influential U.S. individuals, including government and business leaders, of whom 91 percent said Japan is dependable, down one point from the year before.

The telephone survey was conducted in February and March, covering about 1,500 Americans aged 18 and older, as well as 250 influential people.

“The numbers apparently reflect the importance the administration of (President Barack) Obama is placing on Japan,” a senior ministry official said.

In response to a question asking which county is the most important partner for the United States in Asia, Japan topped the list at 46 percent among the general public and 44 percent among influential figures.

China came in a close second with 39 percent among the general public and 42 percent among influential people, apparently reflecting its growing influence in Washington’s relations with Asia.

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