Yomiuri poll: 81% see China as security threat

Courtesy of Defense Ministry
A Jiangwei II-class frigate of the Chinese military is seen in Japanese contiguous waters off Uotsuri Island of the Senkaku Islands.

The survey found 70% of respondents approve of Japan enhancing its defense capabilities, compared to 24% who disapprove.

Those in favor of enhancing the nation’s defense capabilities constituted the majority in all gender and age brackets. By political affiliation, 78% of those who support the ruling camp were in favor, compared to 66% among supporters of the opposition bloc and 63% among swing voters.

The poll’s findings may affect discussions about increasing defense spending in the budget compilation toward the end of the year, as well as the debate about revisions of three key defense program documents, including the National Security Strategy.

Another survey finding was that 81% see China as a threat to Japan’s national security, while only 15% do not. North Korea was seen as a security threat by 72%, compared to 25% who did not view North Korea that way.

Greater caution was likely felt toward China than North Korea because of such developments as China holding large-scale military drills around Taiwan, and China’s rapid military buildup and doubled defense spending over the past decade.

Regarding the restart of nuclear power plants that meet safety criteria, 52% were in favor while 39% were against it. Kishida has instructed relevant ministers to consider building new nuclear power plants, adding new reactors to current plants or rebuilding current nuclear power plants. These instructions were praised by 49%, compared to 44% who said they did not approve.

Acceptance of nuclear power is increasing out of concerns over power shortages. The poll found the younger the respondents, the more positive they were about restarting nuclear power plants, building new ones or adding new reactors to existing plants.