Poll: 77% in Japan Want Biden to Prioritize International Cooperation

Reuters file photo
Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware on Nov. 6.

Seventy-seven percent of Japanese respondents want the new U.S. administration under President-elect Joe Biden to prioritize international cooperation, according to a poll conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun and U.S. polling firm Gallup after the U.S. presidential election in November.

Only 6% of Japanese respondents said the United States should focus on a philosophy of “America First” for its foreign policy.

In response to the same question, 53% of U.S. respondents selected “America First,” compared to 42% who said they wanted the Biden administration, which will be inaugurated in January, to prioritize international cooperation.

The poll was conducted by telephone in Japan and the United States from Nov. 16 to 22.

Regarding the future of the Japan-U.S. relationship, 22% of Japanese respondents said it would improve — up from 9% in a poll conducted shortly after Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election — reflecting expectations in Biden’s alliance-focused approach.

Forty-four percent of U.S. respondents said the bilateral relationship would improve, up from 35% in the 2016 survey, while 27% said it would get worse, down from 40%. Those who said it would “stay the same” increased by one percentage point to 23%.

Among U.S. Democrat supporters, 84% said the bilateral relationship would get better, but only 8% of Republican supporters said the same. The divide between Democrat and Republican supporters was conspicuous in the latest poll.

Both Japanese and U.S. respondents said relations between China and their own countries have deteriorated.

In Japan, 71% of respondents said the bilateral relationship with China at present was poor, up from 60% in a survey conducted in November 2019. Among U.S. respondents, 52% said relations between the United States and China were poor — up from 35% in 2019 — the highest figure recorded since 2000.

■ Trust in hospitals

The novel coronavirus pandemic appears to have boosted confidence in hospitals in both Japan and the United States, according to survey results.

When asked to select trustworthy domestic organizations and public institutions from among 15 options, 74% of Japanese respondents selected hospitals, up from 67% in the 2019 survey, and exceeding the previous top spot, the Self-Defense Forces, which was selected by 70% of respondents in the latest poll, down from 78%.

Since 2011, when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, it had been the most trusted organization in Japan in nine consecutive surveys.

In the United States, the percentage of people who said they trusted hospitals rose from 78% in the previous survey to 86%, sharing the top spot with the military, which was also selected by 86% of respondents. It is the first time the military has shared the top spot since the current survey method was adopted in 2000.

In Japan, the Diet ranked lowest in the question on trustworthy institutions at 23%, down from 25% in the previous survey. It has ranked lowest in three consecutive polls since 2018.

In the same question, Congress and major corporations were selected by 33% of American respondents, ranking lowest in the U.S. poll.