The ratio of people in Japan who are proud of the country’s “long history and traditions” reached a record 48.9 percent after Emperor Naruhito’s accession to the throne and the start of the new imperial era last year, a recent government survey has shown.

The figure was the highest since the government began asking what respondents are proud of regarding Japan and its people in 1991 as part of its annual survey on social awareness, the Cabinet Office said. It was 46.2 in a similar survey conducted in early 2019.

The nationwide survey covered 10,000 people 18 and older between Jan. 9 and 26, of whom 53.9 percent responded. In multiple answers, 56.4 percent of respondents in the survey — the results of which were released in late March — cited “good public safety” and 52.3 percent touched on Japan’s “natural beauty.”

Similarly, 30.3 percent named “health care and welfare” as an area heading in a better direction, followed by “public safety” at 21.0 percent and “science and technology” at 20.5 percent.

The survey also found 62.2 percent are generally satisfied with society, compared with 37.0 percent who said they are not.

Meanwhile, 31.5 percent of respondents believe economic conditions are heading south in Japan, up 5.0 percentage points from the previous year, the survey showed.

The rate reflects the impact of last October’s consumption tax hike but not the coronavirus pandemic that has rocked Japan and the globe.

In multiple answers to a question about what areas respondents think are heading in an undesirable direction in Japan, 39.4 percent said “the state’s fiscal condition,” and 26.3 percent said “regional disparities.”

Similarly, 24.9 percent called “prices” a source of concern for Japan and 24.5 percent cited “diplomacy” amid the lack of progress on territorial disputes with Russia and the issue of North Korea’s abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.

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