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Trust continues to plummet in Japan

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Every year, our firm puts out what we call the Edelman Trust Barometer. This survey of people in 27 countries gauges how much they trust the institutions of government, media, business and NGOs to do the right thing.

The results of the 2015 Trust Barometer are startling when it comes to Japan, showing that people in this country are less trusting than anywhere else.

Trust in Japan hit a watershed in 2012. After the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami (March 11, 2011), trust in the four institutions plummeted, as Japan moved from being a largely trusting nation to heading the ranks of the “distrusters”. Fewer than half of those surveyed said they trusted the four bodies, with government recording a bottom-scraping 25%.

In 2013, the Japanese public remained deeply sceptical, with trust in the four institutions falling to below 50% apiece.

Last year saw a bit of a trust rebound, thanks to high expectations for the government of Shinzo Abe (prime minister since December 2012) and its economic policies known as Abenomics. However, trust for all institutions remained below 50%, with the exception of business, which hovered around 52%. This rebound was accompanied by the burning question as to whether the economic revival was sustainable or a mere “dead cat bounce”.

Now, in 2015, the jury has handed down its verdict, and Japan is less trusting than ever.

Our latest survey found that, out of 27 countries, Japan ranked as the most distrusting country of all, with overall trust falling from 44% (21st) to a pitiful 37%. Trust dropped for all four institutions in Japan, erasing the gains of the previous year.

Why did this happen?

Our theory is that Japanese society is at the cusp of change — perhaps a transitional period that is creating a paradigm of contradictions, prompting the Japanese to continue to lose faith in their institutions.

While people here seem to want a more assertive, stronger and prominent Japan, they are also concerned over legislative changes — such as the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets law and the government’s reinterpretation of collective self-defence and possible changes to the pacifist constitution.

On the economic side, the high expectations for Abenomics have been bogged down by an increase in the cost of living triggered by the falling yen.

One of the big callouts from this year’s Trust Barometer is the plummeting trust in the media. This seems to be a result of their trying to find a new business model in an environment of declining audiences, and of issues surrounding non-factual reporting admitted by one of Japan’s more prominent newspapers.

Japanese people were shocked to learn — perhaps for the first time ever — that not everything reported in the domestic media was sacred truth. This scepticism seems to have shaken their confidence in media objectivity, causing many now to prefer confirming visuals on television, using a search engine or going to a company’s homepage for information, rather than to the media.

In all, it will be interesting next year to see where trust heads depending, perhaps, on whether the economy recovers.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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One of the big callouts from this year’s Trust Barometer is the plummeting trust in the media. This seems to be a result of their trying to find a new business model in an environment of declining audiences, and of issues surrounding non-factual reporting admitted by one of Japan’s more prominent newspapers

.About bloody time! Sadly Japanese are largely a captive audience, their govt & media have been in cahoots for decades CONTROLLING what the locals get as "news & information"

5 ( +5 / -0 )

On the economic side, the high expectations for Abenomics have been bogged down by an increase in the cost of living triggered by the falling yen.

This is an utterly ridiculous statement. Abenomics, at its heart IS PRECISELY the devaluing of the yen.

It's like saying, "I'm a big fan of gravity, but I just don't like it when things are pulled down toward the Earth."

Let's see, WHY would Japanese not trust the powers that be?

-Blatant Lies About Radiation Levels

-Laws Passed To Keep Secrets

-Tax Goes Up 3% But Stores Raise Prices 8%

-Cops Being Perverts

-Teachers Being Perverts

-Non Stop Bullying Under Teacher's Nose

5 ( +6 / -1 )

so you mean Japanese may actually have to wake up the ever dormant critical thinking portion of the hypothalamus and disturb the game of candy rocks on the i-Phone? Oh horror,,,

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Not at all surprised by what I hear from many of my private students in the work force. This is great news! Now all that needs to happen is a big coming out party and for them to start sharing this dissatisfaction with friends, family, co-workers, etc, and a leader/party to ride this wave. Kick out the old boys network!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

China heads up the list of trusters. What did somebody have a gun to the head of the survey takers?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

****Fact is every where there is trust deficient as due diligence idea of banks also plummeted and that way middle class borrowers are badly affected, why thrust deficiency in Japan could be a wonder?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is about what people of a country think about their own institutions, not like they are seen by the others. I think it's a big sign that Japanese have good critical thinking, despite what many people believe, so it is someway a positive news. I'm more afraid for the countries where people blindly trust their institutions.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

deficiency is bound to be as governments miserably failed every one in japan is a true carollary, as Japanese have got world exposure sir, on trust deficiencies even in USA too, people all over need to be very careful about their own governments as governments behave truant is the fact, sorry to see such kind of politics as every politician thinks he is himself a top economist superior to the very central bank governors and the like...! sorry to say so, yet saying when i read your opinion and found Japan is not an exception to these governance deficiencies!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

China heads up the list of trusters. What did somebody have a gun to the head of the survey takers?

Ever consider the fact that all the propaganda you've been fed about China may not be entirely accurate? Contrary to popular belief, a lot of people do have confidence in their government there, particularly since the majority of people have seen a major increase in their quality of life over the past couple of generations.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

gaijinfo: -Tax Goes Up 3% But Stores Raise Prices 8%

Just a guess, but taxes accumulate over the production chain, so each item is subject to multiple bites of tax along its production chain. Also taxes are not the only contribution to price gains.

If the stores can't get away with the price hikes they'll have to drop prices or die. You can see difference between Target and Walmart, Walmart full of customers and full queues even at daytime, Target a mostly empty store in daytime and not many customers at all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

has anyone noticed how stores used to have the after tax prices listed but after the tax hike pretty much everywhere lists the pre-tax prices?

it's like businesses are trying to say "hey we know that you know the prices have gone up but let's continue giving you the illusion that things are less expensive because you like that warm fuzzy feeling of keeping your head buried in the sand, right?"

real trustworthy...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

has anyone noticed how stores used to have the after tax prices listed but after the tax hike pretty much everywhere lists the pre-tax prices?

It was the law that the tax-included price must be shown. That law came into effect somewhere around 2005 or 2006 I think. They did this in preparation for the tax increase, so that people wouldn't see the taxes. They must have repealed this law at some point since they are showing pre-tax prices now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

syzyguy: has anyone noticed how stores used to have the after tax prices listed but after the tax hike pretty much everywhere lists the pre-tax prices?

If Store A is advertising the pre-tax prices in big red numbers, and Store B down the block has identical products at identical prices but advertises the post-tax prices in big red numbers, which store are people more likely to walk into?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Store A is better value for the customer.

If an item has a base unit price of (say) ¥245, the post-tax price is ¥264.6; Store A marks the price as ¥264.6 in big red letters, and adds 0.4 yen at the till, while Store B marks the price as ¥265 from the start. No difference. But if you buy 100 of the items, Store A charges you ¥264.6x100 = ¥26460, while Store B charges you ¥265x100 = ¥26500. Only a small difference, but it all adds up over the year's shopping.

The problem comes when you think you're looking at post-tax prices, only to find the tax added at the till. Caveat emptor!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes this study seems a bit high level to say the least.

I would say on a down to earth level, Japanese are some of the most trusting of 'Professionals', men in white suits, and evn the government and institutions at more fundamental or detailed levels.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm surprised trust in business is low. A common complaint I hear from successful Japanese colleagues is that all the best of Japan is in the Private sector, while all the worst are in the Public sector and politics. Most Japanese I've met have great admiration for Japanese businesses

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Our latest survey found that, out of 27 countries, Japan ranked as the most distrusting country of all, with overall trust falling from 44% (21st) to a pitiful 37%. Trust dropped for all four institutions in Japan, erasing the gains of the previous year.

Who can blame them? Japan Inc., represented by the four institutions -- government, media, business and NGOs -- are all in lock step and simply keep telling folks there the same thing over and over again, just with a new twist. The latest one being "Abenomics" will solve all of Japan's problems, and "things have bottomed out, and recovery is right around the corner". Yet the average person just sees things getting worse and worse. Honestly, if there was a true 4th Estate in Japan, a real probing press, these numbers would be even lower.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Ever consider the fact that all the propaganda you've been fed about China may not be entirely accurate?

No. Although I am increasingly worried about how poisonous nationalism would show up in this poll.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I was thinking more of something like psychological effects of pricing, but accumulation over years is a factor, too.

Any reason at all to use post-tax pricing, if not forced to?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_pricing

Psychological pricing (also price ending, charm pricing) is a pricing/marketing strategy based on the theory that certain prices have a psychological impact. The retail prices are often expressed as "odd prices": a little less than a round number, e.g. $19.99 or £2.98. Consumers tend to perceive “odd prices” as being significantly lower than they actually are, tending to round to the next lowest monetary unit. Thus, prices such as $1.99 are associated with spending $1 rather than $2. The theory that drives this is that lower pricing such as this institutes greater demand than if consumers were perfectly rational. Psychological pricing is one cause of price points.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ever consider the fact that all the propaganda you've been fed about China may not be entirely accurate?

No.

Then you just show you're willing to believe propaganda without question.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

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