Yomiuri-Gallup survey shows awareness of China, Russia threats

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Many people in Japan and America appear to feel threatened by the actions of Russia and China, according to a joint survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun and U.S. research and polling firm Gallup Inc.

It was the first Yomiuri-Gallup opinion poll conducted in two years.

According to the survey, 61% of Japanese respondents and 56% of American respondents think China will launch a military invasion of Taiwan in the future. Only 31% of Japanese and 33% of Americans thought China would not do so.

In August, Beijing fired a barrage of ballistic missiles in what it called important military exercises conducted in response to a visit to Taiwan by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Some of the missiles landed inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

China’s hardline stance, as illustrated by its actions around Taiwan, has apparently led to heightened concerns among people in Japan and the United States.

When asked whether U.S. forces should defend Taiwan if China launches a military invasion of the island, 72% of Japanese respondents said yes. In the United States, 48% were in favor and 45% were opposed.

This appears to reflect differing threat perceptions among people in Japan, a nation that would be more directly affected by a conflict over Taiwan, and the United States, which would be less impacted.

U.S. President Joe Biden has made several comments that indicate a willingness to have U.S. forces defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion of the island.

In the United States, 51% of Democratic Party supporters and 51% of Republican Party supporters said they think Washington should defend Taipei. However, among independents, who accounted for 40% of American respondents, 49% said the U.S. military should not defend Taiwan, topping the 44% who said it should.

There was no significant difference among Japanese respondents regardless of whether they supported the ruling parties, opposition parties, or identified as independents.

Regarding China, 90% of Japanese respondents said they did not trust their neighbor, down slightly from 91% in the previous survey in 2020. In the United States, 83% of respondents did not trust China — a record-high since the question was introduced in 2004, and up from 75% in 2020.

Majority support aid for Ukraine

Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February. The fate of the conflict could hinge on whether the United States continues to supply massive amounts of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

A majority of Japanese respondents (59%) and American respondents (55%) felt Washington should increase its military assistance to Kyiv, while 32% of Japanese and 39% of Americans disagreed.

When the results were broken down by political party support, there was no significant difference among Japanese respondents. However, in the United States, 68% of Democratic Party supporters favored increasing assistance to Ukraine, but 51% of Republicans did not.

There have been calls in the United States for assistance to Ukraine to be reviewed, including from some Republican members of the House of Representatives who opposed the approval of a spending bill for Ukrainian aid. The sentiment seems to be spreading among Republicans.

Among independent U.S. respondents, 55% thought the United States should boost aid to Ukraine, topping the 37% who disagreed.