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Disaster prevention draws more public attention in annual policy survey

JIJI

More people believe the government should give higher priority to disaster prevention, an annual Cabinet Office survey shows.

According to the survey, 28.3 percent of the respondents think disaster prevention should be prioritized, up 2.4 points from the previous year.

That is the highest ratio for disaster prevention since 1992, when the policy area was added to the survey as an option.

Respondents were asked to pick policy areas they think the government should emphasize, with multiple answers allowed. The results of the 18-day survey ended July 1 were released Friday.

The rise in emphasis on disaster prevention was apparently influenced by the brief but powerful Osaka earthquake on June 18.

A Cabinet Office official said “public awareness about disaster prevention is actually increasing,” because Japan was hit not only by earthquakes but also severe flooding.

According to the interview-based survey, other policy areas showing year-on-year rises included tax reform, up 3.6 points to 31.6 percent, and diplomacy and international cooperation, up 2.8 points to 30.3 percent.

The changes suggest increased public interest in such themes as the government’s repeated delays to fiscal reconstruction, and the trade policy of U.S. President Donald Trump.

In the meantime, the ratio of respondents who sought emphasis on defense and security fell 3.4 points to 32.8 percent after North Korea opened its door to dialogue and tensions eased on the Korean Peninsula.

The policy area that drew the highest ratio was social security, including medical care and pensions, at 64.6 percent.

In second place was measures to deal with the aging society, at 52.4 percent, followed by the economy at 50.6 percent, and employment and labor at 36.7 percent.

Asked about satisfaction with their daily life, 74.7 percent said they were either satisfied or moderately satisfied, up 0.8 point from the record high posted the previous year.

The survey covered 10,000 people 18 or older nationwide and drew valid answers from 59.7 percent.