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Americans say US-Japan security alliance important: poll

By: Michael March

Date Posted: 1999-05-08

More than 50 percent of Americans believe the U.S.-Japan security alliance is very important, according to a recent poll requested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When asked if they believe Japan to be a trustworthy partner, more than 60% of respondents to the Gallup poll said 惣es・ in what could be seen as a positive footnote to Prime Minister Obuchi痴 recently completed five-day visit to the United States to meet with President Clinton.

Japan痴 Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been using the Gallup Organization to conduct polls on their behalf for the past 39 years, and the latest results show the upward trend experienced in a similar poll in 1998, is continuing. The telephone poll was broken into two sections of the American community, involving more than 1500 respondents aged 18 and over and over 390 business professionals asked for their views.

The disparity between responses from business leaders and the general public was on occasion marked, however, with 87 percent of business people saying Japan was a trustworthy ally, against a 61 percent result for the general public. Asked whether they had a favorable impression of Japan, 43 percent of general public respondents said they had. On the other hand, business leaders responded with 74 percent.

In the 1998 Gallup poll, the American public believed the relationship between the two countries was stable. The latest poll indicates this trend is not only continuing but improving.

Recent debate in the Diet over amendments to the U.S.-Japan Security defense guidelines appears to have had little effect on public opinion in the U.S., with more than 50 percent from both sets of respondents agreeing it was an important aspect of the relationship. Both sets of respondents answered favorably (80 percent) on whether the two countries should maintain the guidelines.

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