Source: Pew Research Center
Japanese feel better about their economy than at any time in nearly two decades. But the overall mood in Japan remains wary, if not pessimistic. The prevailing view is that average people are worse off than before the Great Recession, while few think the next generation will fare any better. Automation is one reason the future may not be so bright for ordinary people: Majorities of Japanese say growing reliance on robots and computers will lead to joblessness and income inequality. And less than half the public is satisfied with the way democracy is working in Japan, while more than half hold the view that politicians do not care about ordinary people, that they are corrupt and that elections ultimately do not change much.
These are among the key findings from a Pew Research Center survey conducted May 24 to June 19, 2018, among 1,016 respondents in Japan.
Mixed economic sentiment
Positive views of the economy are up 34 percentage points since the early days of the global financial crisis in 2009. Nonetheless, in 2018 just 44% say the current economic situation in Japan is good, while 55% believe conditions are bad.
Four-in-ten Japanese (41%) think average people today are worse off financially than they were 20 years ago. Just 26% say they are better off. At the same time, only 15% of the public believes that children today in Japan will grow up to be better off financially than their parents, while 76% expect they will be worse off. That is among the lowest level of optimism about the next generation’s prospects among the 27 nations Pew Research Center surveyed in 2018.