84% of People Nationwide Say They Feel Japan’s National Security Is Under Threat

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Buildings in Tokyo are seen with Mt. Fuji in the background in March 2021.

As many as 84% of respondents to a nationwide poll felt Japan’s national security is under threat.

In the survey, conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun during February and March on the subject of national security, 31% said they felt strongly that the country’s security is at risk, while 53% said they somewhat felt so.

The survey also asked about the threat to Japan’s security from China, North Korea and Russia. The results show that more people identified China and Russia as threats compared to the previous poll that was conducted in March last year.

China was considered a threat by 91% of respondents, five percentage points higher than the previous survey, and Russia was viewed as a threat by 88%, up from 84%. North Korea was seen as a worry by 87%.

The percentage of respondents in favor of Japan strengthening its defense capabilities remained high at 71%, down only one percentage point from last year. Twenty-six percent were against the idea, up from 25%.

Regarding the government’s revision of three fundamental documents on defense in December 2022, including the National Security Strategy, 50% of respondents were highly or somewhat supportive of measures to drastically strengthen defense capabilities. The possession of “counterstrike capabilities” for defense purposes, including the targeting of enemy missile-launching sites, was highly or somewhat supported by 57% of respondents, down from 62% in a previous survey from July 2022.

As part of efforts to strengthen defense capabilities, the government has decided to increase related spending from fiscal 2023 to a total of \43 trillion over five years. The survey found 53% of respondents supported the increase, while 42% opposed it.

Poll results showed, however, that respondents maintained negative views of tax hikes to secure financial resources. The government’s policy of increasing corporate, income and tobacco taxes in stages by fiscal 2027 was supported by only 28% of those polled, one percentage point down from the previous survey in March 2023. The policy, a plan to secure at least \1 trillion for related spending, was opposed by 69% of respondents, up 2 percentage points.

A security clearance system which would allow the government to authorize individuals to handle important information on economic security, was supported by 60% of respondents, with 33% against the plan.

Respondents also were in favor of the government’s plan to utilize advanced technologies belonging to universities and other research institutes as well as private companies for defense purposes, with 75% supporting such proposals.

The survey was conducted by mail from Feb. 6 to March 14 on 3,000 eligible voters nationwide. There were 2,074 responses, for a 69% response rate.