Survey finds fewer Japanese now see United States in favorable light

by

Staff Writer

Support for the United States in Japan has dropped to the lowest level in nine years as only a quarter of Japanese say they have confidence in U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The poll, carried out by the Washington-based Pew Research Center, showed that 57 percent of Japanese see the U.S. in a favorable light, down from 72 percent in the previous poll, conducted last year, and the biggest year-on-year decline in a decade. This is the lowest figure since 2008, when 50 percent said they had a favorable view of the U.S.

The survey found that 24 percent expressed confidence in Trump doing the right thing regarding world affairs, down from 78 percent in 2016 who had confidence in his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Those who think Japan-U.S. relations will worsen were at 41 percent, and only 17 percent believe bilateral ties will improve somewhat. The survey also showed 34 percent expect them to remain unchanged.

The results of the survey of 1,009 Japanese, conducted between March 8 and April 2, come as Trump plans to visit Japan from Nov. 5-7 to firm up the alliance between the two nations. The trip is part of his first tour as U.S. leader to five Asian countries, including South Korea and the Philippines.

The favorability of the U.S. in Japan was lower than that expressed by other nationalities: 78 percent of respondents in the Philippines and 75 percent in South Korea had a positive outlook. However, only 48 percent of Australians surveyed held the same opinion.

People expressing support for the world’s biggest economy in the three countries declined by 9 to 14 percentage points from 2016.

Trust in the U.S. presidency also fell 71 points from 2016 to 17 percent in South Korea, 55 points to 29 percent in Australia and 25 points to 69 percent in the Philippines, according to the survey.

The Trump administration has called on Japan to open up the agriculture and auto markets as part of efforts to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with the world’s third biggest economy. During last year’s U.S. presidential campaign, Trump urged Tokyo to pay more to maintain U.S. military bases here.

He also pulled the world’s biggest economy out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact as well as the Paris climate agreement. Last week, the U.S. government said it will withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, citing what Washington called its anti-Israel bias.