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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned IPSOS to conduct an opinion poll on the image of Japan in five countries in Central and South America (Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Trinidad and Tobago) between last December and February this year. An overview of the results of the poll is as follows.

 

With regard to the relathionship with Japan, 74% of the respondents answered “friendly” or “somewhat friendly.” In addition, 80% of the respondents said they “felt familiarity” or “felt moderate familiarity” for Japan, indicating that a positive image on Japan is commonly held regarding the relationship with Japan. Furthermore, 20% of the respondents chose Japan as “the most reliable country” among such major 13 countries as the United States and counties of Asia and Europe, which is the highest ratio among the 13 countries.

As for which countries are currently important partners for the five countries in Central and South America, the U.S. rated the highest at 70%, followed by Japan (33%) and China (29%) among the 13 major countries, comprising the U.S. and countries in Asia and Europe. Additionally, in response to a question concerning which countries will become important partners in the future, 42% cited Japan, followed by the U.S. (31%) and China (30%).

76% of the respondents in all five countries praised Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Central and South America last year, which took place in line with his “diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map,” suggesting that Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Central and South America was widely appreciated.

Regarding their image of Japan, the most popular answer across the five countries overall was “a country with a strong economy and high technology” (77%), indicating that Japan has a strong image as an affluent and technologically advanced country. “A country that has great tradition and culture” came in the second place with 65% on the image of Japan, suggesting high interest in Japanese culture. In response to a question regarding which aspects of Japan are of interest, the leading responses were “science and technology” (71%), “culture and crafts” (59%) and “Japanese cuisine” (48%).

Concerning the advance of Japanese companies into their countries, 80% responded that they “welcome” or “rather welcome” it, showing that the position of Japanese companies is seen as positive. Asked why they welcome Japanese companies, the leading responses were that the companies “provide more and better-paid employment sources” (54%), “transfer technologies” (22%), and “strengthen the countrie’s economy” (12%).

 

As for their opinion about the people of Japanese origin in their respective countries, the percentage who answered that they are contributing to the development of the community was 87%, and 79% of the respondents answered that the people of Japanese origin are contributing to the relationship between Japan and their countries. Moreover, with respect to the image of people of Japanese origin, “diligent and efficient” (53%) and “kind and polite” (51%) were among the most selected answeres, indicating that a favorable impression surrounds people of Japanese descent.