Japan Data

Survey Finds Young Japanese Have More Pessimistic Outlook than Peers in Other Countries


A recent survey conducted by the Nippon Foundation found that Japanese teenagers had a far from rosy view of their country’s future.

The Nippon Foundation ran a recent survey targeting 6,000 young people aged 17 to 19 from six countries—Japan, the United States, Britain, China, South Korea, and India—asking respondents if they thought their country would improve in the future. Of those who believed it would, young Japanese had the lowest percentage, at 13.9%, while they had the highest percentage, with 35.1%, when it came to those who thought things would get worse.

In China, 95.7% of young people held high hopes for their country’s future, while only 1.2% said they thought it would get worse.

There were fewer young people in Britain and the United States who stated they thought things “will improve,” following a trend of lesser optimism among countries in the Group of Seven, but Japan’s response was by far the lowest. Even though it has the world’s third-largest economy, Japanese young people are living with a lack of hope.

Respondents were asked how they thought the competitive power of their country will change 10 years from now in four areas: economy; science and technology; military and defense; and culture and arts. When the responses for “will be much stronger” and “will be stronger” were totaled up, Japan ranked bottom in all four of those areas.

With the country having entered an era of declining population and low economic growth, young Japanese people’s views on economic power, an area that Japan once excelled in, showed that only 1.4% thought that it “will be much stronger” and 9.5% answered that it “will be stronger.” In the field of science and technology 45.5% of Japanese respondents in total believed it “will be stronger” to some degree.

Meanwhile, due to a sense that manga, anime, and J-pop, regarded as Japan’s “strategic exports,” are being swept aside by waves of South Korean and Chinese popular culture, 29.5% in total thought Japan “will be stronger” or “much stronger.”

The survey, conducted online from late January to early February 2022, was aimed at 1,000 young people aged 17 to 19 in each country.

(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta)

Nippon Foundation youth