• Kyodo

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An overwhelming 84% of Americans have positive views about Japan, according to a Gallup Inc. survey released in the lead up to a summit by U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the White House.

Japan was the most positively rated country in Asia and trails only Canada, Britain and France globally.

“For Biden, Americans’ broad, long-standing positive view of Japan primes the U.S. public to view the summit positively,” the U.S. analytics firm said of the survey released Wednesday.

Americans’ positive views of Japan are widely shared across demographic groups, with 84% of Democrats, 80% of Republicans and 86% of independents responding to the Feb. 3-18 survey favoring the key U.S. ally.

For Suga, the summit offers the opportunity to “showcase his rapport with Biden, who may be viewed more positively by the Japanese people than (Donald) Trump was,” the company said.

Respondents with higher education are more likely to see Japan positively, with 92% of those with a college degree saying they favor the country.

That compares with 87% for people with some college education and 72% for those with no more than a high school education.

Eighty-five percent of white Americans favored Japan, compared to 79% for nonwhite Americans.

All age brackets showed positive rates of between 81% and 86%.

Gallup said the majority of Americans have viewed Japan positively since 1996, when former President Bill Clinton started promoting relations with Japan, including deepening defense cooperation on the back of a rapidly changing security environment in Asia.

Before that, the rate was generally lower, possibly because of a U.S. viewpoint that Japan posed an economic threat, as well as a series of disputes over America’s military presence in the country, mostly in Okinawa Prefecture.

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