A recent article of the Nikkei Shimbun showed that Americans view China as the most important partner in Asia (public opinion poll by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, polled 1,200 average Americans over age 18 and 200 experts). The most common response on who Americans considered as their country’s most important Asian partner 39% answered with China, while 31% said Japan. Although I have shown in previous articles Asia’s youth is admiring Japan, it seems to me the rest of the world has already shifted. It was the first time that in this poll China has been ranked above Japan. Asked then why they had chosen China, 43% of respondents mentioned strong trade and economic relations, but then for Japan solely the political ties came up with 29%. Do note that the connection with Japan is not perceived on a business connection, but due to historical/political events.
Solely looking at the response of the experts, the situation shows even a wider gap: 46% picked China while 28% chose Japan. While opinions of Americans do not reflect the global opinion, but still it gives me a sense that a shift from Japan to China has already taken place. Furthermore considering that this poll was done before the “Eastern Japan Great Earthquake”, I expect the polls to show even a wider gap if done now.
Most likely I am a too big of a dreamer, when I can imagine a Japan as a proactive economic power with a labor force that cares about the future of the country. I guess the first step at the moment for the Japanese society to become aware of the constant changing global economic impact to Japan and then react swiftly. Somewhen later on we can hopefully start with a proactive approach.
A lone dreamer of a bright future of Japan,
Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)