A Poll on U.S.-Japan Relations

Goyaboy, or “the binary identity fo Gerald Figal,” alerts us to the incredulity of the recent AP-Kyodo News poll meant to take the pulse of the U.S.-Japan relation. (see also this Japan Times article)

In his post he astutely points to the hidden bias in the questions surveyed by the pollsters. Why did this poll end up surveying the public opinion concerning the justification for dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Here’s what Goyaboy writes:

According to this AP article, a survey done by the AP-Kyodo News indicates that 60% of Americans polled believe that WWIII is likely within their lifetime while only 33% of Japanese polled believe this. Is this a function of Japan’s atomic-and-fire-bomb-induced pacificism and American warmongering or are Japanese just more optimistic? And what use is such a poll anyway? What’s lame about such polls and the reporting of them is that they imply (or they willingly allow the reader to infer) that rather than a measure of public attitude (at best) such polls are predictions of the future. What’s even lamer about this article is that it devolves into a debate about the justification for the use of atomic bombs on Japan in WWII. Huh? How did that get mixed into the survey? Wanna know? I bet it’s because the pollsters had preconceived pop-psych theories about how being atom-bombed induced pacifism in Japan, and that in turn makes Japanese think that any reasonable person would want to avoid WWIII and therefore it won’t happen. Contrawise, the American public basically knows shit about the experience of war because no meaningful war has happened on American soil since that Between the States and The Oldest Confederate Widow is already dead. Thus, Americans can blithely assume that a WW is bound to happen again.

But all this depends on one more factor: how many percentage of Americans really know which country Japan is?

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