“We the Japanese People” – A Reflection on Public Opinion
Tuesday, May 23, 2006 Posted: 11:22 PM JST
(source: YaleGlobal) - For more than 60 years following its devastation in World War II, Japan has held onto an intense fear of militarism, renouncing the right to wage war and limiting its self-defense force. A side effect of such pacifist policies, according to scholar Hikari Agakimi, is a carefree people who struggle to find a national identity.
In a 2005 survey of high school students, only 13 percent reported feeling pride at seeing the Japanese flag, while in a opinion poll conducted by the prime minister’s office, 40 percent of respondents admitted that they did not know if they loved their country or not.
An alarmed Japanese government has initiated a series of reforms aimed at reviving patriotism: One education bill aims to instill respect for Japan’s history and traditions, while a constitutional proposal calls for more military flexibility.
Threatened by the military buildup of neighboring China and North Korea, Japan is undertaking a “grand social transformation,” an attempt to imbue nationalistic sentiments in an aging population without revisiting military ambitions of the past.
Read Hikari Agakimi's “We the Japanese People” – A Reflection on Public Opinion.
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