More people across the globe are unhappy with the state of democracy in their countries than are content, according to a new poll that showed 56 percent of people in Japan voicing dissatisfaction.
The survey, released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, found that 56 percent of Japanese — the highest among democracies in Asia — said they were unhappy with the state of their government while 40 percent were satisfied. Across 27 countries surveyed, a median of 51 percent said they were dissatisfied with the way their democracy is functioning, compared with 45 percent who were satisfied.
“Discontent varies somewhat across regions of the globe,” Pew said. “Those in the Asia-Pacific region, for example, tend to be satisfied with how democracy is working in their countries.
“Only in Japan do a majority say they are dissatisfied,” the poll noted.
According to the survey, a median of 74 percent of people in Japan cited a struggling economy, while 69 percent voiced dissatisfaction with the state of freedom of speech in the country and 70 percent said elected officials ignore ordinary people.
Those results were similar to the United States, where 80 percent cited economic concerns, 74 percent said free speech was a major issue and 67 percent saw elites as uncaring and out of touch.
Dissatisfaction increased significantly between 2017 and 2018 in roughly half of the countries polled, including in Japan where it jumped 9 percentage points year-on-year, the survey found.
Japan has sought to improve its democratic process in recent years, including steps intended to bring more women into government and encouraging youth participation in elections.
However, the country, which has been led by the Liberal Democratic Party continuously since the party’s 1955 foundation save two brief exceptions, has witnessed a number of political and corruption scandals in recent years that have damaged public trust in government.