National

Japanese see Americans as idle, distrust Trump: survey

by Alastair Wanklyn

Staff Writer

A survey Wednesday shed further light on how Japanese regard their U.S. counterparts, including that they see Americans as idle and not the industrious worker bees admired by the rest of the world.

The Pew Research Center poll found just one in four Japanese consider Americans to be hardworking, sharply lower than the assessments of respondents in other countries.

The facts contradict this: A 2015 survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that Americans work an average of 34.42 hours a week, compared with 33.06 hours for the supposedly work-obsessed Japanese.

However, Japanese fit the global pattern when it comes to admiring Americans for their optimism and tolerance, giving them high scores on both counts.

Japanese also stand out in believing that United States influence is weaker now than 10 years ago. The survey found that most other nations believe American leadership remains undiminished.

In what could boost Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his push of defense reforms to make Japan more agile internationally, 52 percent of Japanese respondents said they support U.S.-led military action against the Islamic State group, with only 37 percent opposing it.

Worldwide, the survey found generally strong trust in U.S. President Barack Obama and distrust of both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump scored rock-bottom in trust levels in every country outside the one he seeks to lead, with only 18 percent of people in Japan saying they think he would handle foreign affairs well.

His Democratic counterpart Hillary Clinton is seen as a safe pair of hands, with a full 70 percent of Japanese answering that they trust her to “do the right thing regarding world affairs.”

Most nations still consider the U.S. to be the world’s leading economic power, but China is close behind, and in the opinion of people in Australia, Canada and France, it has already overtaken America.

The poll was conducted in April and May in 10 European nations, along with Canada, the U.S, Australia, India, China and Japan. The pollsters contacted 1,000 people in Japan by landline or cellphone, selected randomly across carriers.

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