TOKYO — The Japanese public are deeply unhappy with their government’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic, much more so than people in the United States and Britain where the death toll from covid-19 is much higher, a new survey shows.
The Covid-19 Opinion Tracker released by global communications company Kekst CNC surveyed 1,000 people, in the United States, Britain, Germany, Sweden and Japan.
It found 58 percent of Japanese people said their confidence in the government had fallen over its handling of the pandemic, while only 6 percent said their confidence had risen. The net negative score of 52 percent compared to minus 12 percent in the United States, minus 3 percent in Britain, plus 3 percent in Sweden and plus 13 percent in Germany.
There was also intense dissatisfaction in Japan with the World Health Organization, which scored minus 50 percent, the Health Ministry, at minus 39 percent, and the media, at minus 33 percent.
The survey found high levels of concern over the Japanese economy and deep unhappiness with government economic support, with just 13 percent of people saying the government was giving businesses the support they need.
“The figures for Japan are shocking,” said Jochen Legewie, managing director of Kekst CNC in Japan. “The reason leading to the big dissatisfaction of people here is the economic support measures, because the economic concern is very high here in Japan.”
Legewie said Japanese people, like respondents in other countries, still overwhelmingly want their government to prioritize limiting the spread of the virus over avoiding a recession, and appear unhappy with the government’s reluctance to take firm action.
“What we have seen is a number of measures that were staggered, but not showing a very clear direction and a very clear leadership set by the government,” he said. People here “know that without a clear direction and clear measures, we cannot move to the next phase.”