"If Japan were attacked by another country, would you flee? Or take up arms?"
With these and other questions. Weekly Playboy (June 6) ran the results of a survey of 1,000 adult men and women (age 20-69) residing in the main islands of Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku, plus 100 each in Hokkaido and Okinawa. The later were tabulated separately owing to their proximity to Russia and China, the two closest countries with large and powerful military forces.
First, the survey asked, "Within the next 10 years, do you see any possibility of Japan going to war with another country?" Just under half, 49.6%, of the respondents thought there was no possibility. But 31.5% replied that could happen in any part of Japan, and 18.9% believed war might occur in either Hokkaido or Okinawa.
Respondents on Okinawa were particularly nervous, with 33% saying they felt their prefecture could come under attack within the next decade, whereas only 32% said they thought there was no possibility of a war within the next 10 years.
Next question: If Japan were to be attacked by Russia, China or North Korea, do you believe the Japan Self Defense Forces would be capable of repelling them?
The replies were not encouraging: Both 7% for both Russia and China, and 14% in the case of North Korea.
Assuming the U.S. will come to Japan's assistance however, the responses went up, to 55%, 56% and 54%, respectively -- still not very encouraging.
Next question: What percentage of GDP do you think should be devoted to defense? Here, 19.4% said they favor a major increase to 2% or even greater and 38.3% favored a moderate increase of between 1% but below 2% of GDP.
Still, 32.6% thought defense outlays should be kept at the current level; 3.4% said it should be reduced to between 0.5% and 1% of GDP, and 6.3% said it should be reduced to below 0.5%.
Now let's get down to the real nitty-gritty: "If an enemy force invaded your area, what would you do?"
The responses, for males only, were: Take up arms and fight, with 15%; not fight directly, but provide assistance to the Self Defense Forces, 28.2%; evacuate to a domestic location 32.2%; flee overseas, 12.6%; and neither evacuate nor resist, 9.6%.
Broken down by age, the percentage of respondents saying they would resist armed occupiers climbs from 16% of males in their 30s to 24% in their 40s, 29% in their 50s and 31% in their 60s.
Those who replied that they would either fight or give support to the SDF were also asked what they thought about those who would do neither. Of these, 41.6% said males of military age should be obliged to remain in the country; 13.1% said no one should flee, irrespective of age or gender; and 42.3% said those who wish to flee should be allowed to do so.
To the question "If the area where you reside were occupied by a foreign army, what would you do?" 23.6% of males would resist or give support to partisans; 12.2% would resist non-violently; 7% would cooperate with the occupiers; 35% would consider fleeing the area to a place where they could provide some form of support; and 20.4% would try to flee abroad.
For the final question, the subjects were asked what they thought about Ukraine's order prohibiting adult males from leaving the country. Among males, 12.2% believed this to be a matter of course and another 44% said under the circumstances it could not be helped. Here are some other male/female responses (multiple replies permitted).
- It is an honor to contribute to one's country (14.6%/6.6%)
- Because of the Russian invasion, it can't be helped (37.6%/26%)
- It's pitiful to force men to separate from their loved ones (24.6%/36.2%)
- Applying the law to males only is unfair (18.4%/21.4%)
- Those determined to flee should do so, despite the order to remain in the country (32.8%/40.4%)
"Around the start of the 1990s, when I managed public affairs at the Defense Agency, the Cabinet Office conducted a similar survey. The responses left me shocked," said Kyoji Yanazawa, a former bureaucrat at the Ministry of Defense and presently director of International Geopolistic Institute Japan. "In contrast to fewer than 10% of Japanese who said they would resist an armed attack, the same question in South Korea garnered a 60 to 70% response.
"Overall, for Japanese, war is still a 'personal matter' that lacks a sense of reality," Yanazawa added. "I haven't observed a great change in Japanese people's views on this topic over the past 20 or so years."© Japan Today