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66% of people surveyed did not know that Japan was one of the highest GHG emitting countries in the world.

This report is a summary of three polls conducted in 2016 with findings on the attitudes to climate change amongst the Japanese population.

The first poll is the “Poll on Environmental Awareness 2016” (this source will be denoted as *1 hereafter) conducted by the National Institute for Environmental Studies. Out of 3,000 randomly chosen citizens over the age of 18 living across all 47 prefectures in Japan, 1,640 participated in the survey. Participants were interviewed during the period June 10th 2016 to July 4th 2016. 52.2% of the contestants were female and the age mostly reflects the population of Japan with many senior citizens over the age of 60.

The second poll is the “Poll Regarding Countermeasures for Global Warming” (this source will be denoted as *2 hereafter) conducted by the Cabinet Office. Out of 3,000 randomly chosen Japanese nationals over the age of 18, 1,816 were valid responses. Participants were interviewed during the period July 28th 2016 to August 7th 2016.

The third poll is the “Attitude survey Regarding Global Warming” (this source will be denoted as *3 hereafter) conducted by Trend Lab via an internet survey. Contestants were 500 male and female in their 20s to 50s. Equal numbers of male/female and equal numbers of 20s/30s/40s/50s age range participated during the period December 12th 2016 to December 13th 2016.

In *2, participants were asked whether they were interested in global environmental problems including global warming, ozone destruction, etc. The same question was asked in the 2007 survey and while 92.3% answered “interested” or “interested to a certain extent” in 2007, in *2, the number dropped to 87.2%. This may show that perhaps less Japanese are interested in global environmental problems than before.

Focusing on climate change/global warming, 90.9% of participants in *1 were “worried” or “slightly worried” about its impacts, and 76.7% thought that they already felt the effects of climate change. When asked about the causes of climate change in *1, 36.7% replied “mostly anthropogenic” and 41.2% chose “partly natural and partly anthropogenic.” Over half the participants felt that there are more negative impacts than positive impacts from climate change.

Consequently, 72.6% thought that they need to change their lifestyles to reduce impacts on climate change/global warming in *1. It seems like most Japanese are aware of climate change and believe that it is an important issue. On the other hand, according to *1, only 22.6% answered that many people around them who think that we need to take action for climate change/global warming, and only 17.2% replied that they have people around them who are already taking action for climate change/global warming.

Regarding the Paris Agreement, 59.7% knew the Paris Agreement but 52.6% of these have only heard of its name. Similarly, *3 revealed that while 56% of people were interested in international actions for global warming, only 9% knew COP22, and less than 10% knew details of the Paris Agreement. Also, 66% of people did not know that Japan was one of the highest GHG emitting countries in the world.

In conclusion, it seems like many citizens in Japan are interested and concerned about climate change, yet few take action and many lack knowledge on international climate negotiations.

Learn More

*1: https://www.nies.go.jp/whatsnew/2016/jqjm10000008nl7t-att/jqjm10000008noea.pdf
*2: http://survey.gov-online.go.jp/h28/h28-ondanka/gairyaku.pdf
*3: https://prw.kyodonews.jp/opn/release/201701137868/