"88% of pollees found to be proud of being Japanese"

Friday, September 16 2005 @ 03:15 AM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

On September 16 the Yomiuri Shimbun and its English edition Daily Yomiuri reported the results of a survey they conducted on August 6 and 7 of 3,000 people randomly chosen from among the voting-age population. According to the report, 88% of 1,798 respondents had answered they were proud of their nationality.

Pollsters prosper in any democracy in the world, no matter whether it's a sound democracy or a sick and dying one such as Japan.

But if there is any distinctive feature in opinion polls in Japan, it's the fact that both pollsters and pollees think the results of surveys are always reliable and indicative of the real state of things, no matter how the questionnaire is formulated unprofessionally, as it always is, and no matter how the results are analyzed unprofessionally, as they always are.

Generally speaking, the Japanese people, especially politicians, journalists, and business leaders, are very good at answering a given question, solving an already identified problem, or complying with a rule imposed on them by someone else.

If you closely examine how Japan could rise, like a phoenix, from the ashes of WWII in the 1960s through the 1980s, you will notice that this ability to react very effectively to a given situation was the key to the Japan's postwar success.

But if you take a look at the other side of the coin, you will find there a total inability to proact, because to proact, one has to be good at asking valid and relevant questions, rather than giving the correct answers to them.

The annual survey conducted by the Yomiuri, this time to mark the 60th anniversary of the war defeat, was yet another sign that they are unable to come up with the right questions to ask.

One of the silly questions asked in the push-poll was: "What would you do if Japan was invaded?"

35% of the respondents answered, "I would flee to somewhere safe." Since the key question was related to the nationality, not ethnicity, I suspect these respondents are not really proud to be Japanese.

Another 35% ticked: "I would resist by means other than arms." This answer was as silly as the question because nobody without arms could fight back against heavily-armed invaders.

This reminds me of the wartime media, including the Yomiuri Hochi, the precursor of the Yomiuri Shimbun, who kept airing the Imperial Army's propaganda that the hundred million Japanese had to become a fireball to fight back against the U.S.-led allied forces armed with most modern weapons including A-bombs, using take-yari, or bamboo spears.

Only 17% of the pollees answered they would resist with arms.

But tell me where to find arms. Arms are only available to the toothless Self-Defense Forces, cops and yakuza mobsters in this nation.

The Yomiuri claims to have found out 88% of the Japanese are patriots. But my take on the outcome of the opinion poll is quite different, if ever it indicates something significant.

The conclusion I would have drawn from the answers, that I wouldn't have made myself, to the questions, that I wouldn't have asked in the first place, is something like this:
- 35% are unpatriotic, and
- 52% are lunatics or daydreamers.

Moreover, 100% of the respondents have been assimilated into this system where they are only supposed to respond to given stimuli like Pavlov's dogs.

The newspaper publisher, along with the more "right-leaning" Sankei Shimbun, has been ardently promoting the idea that a constitutional amendment should be high on the agenda for the renewed Koizumi administration.

Surprisingly enough, though, it bases its amendment advocacy solely on the "facts" that the U.S.-imposed Constitution lacks "legitimacy" and that the Self-Defense Forces should somehow be renamed so the "activity" they are currently pursuing in Iraq is confirmed as constitutional. Along this line, the Yomiuri has repeatedly conducted opinion polls, in which a majority of respondents have always expressed their pro-amendment "opinions" sneakily preplanted in the questions.

But I am certain that just rewording the supreme law in the way the Yomiuri advocates won't make the slightest difference to the situation where 88% of people believe they are patriots whereas in fact, they are not.

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