August 24, 2005
American and Japanese Attitudes Toward U.S. Troops in Japan
We currently have some 40,000 - 50,000 troops in Japan, more than a half-century after WWII. A 1999 poll showed divergent views of our military presence there between Americans and Japanese. Remember this is a 1999 poll (note also that one could contest as too limited the choices offered to respondents by the poll designers):
When given a choice of three reasons why 40,000 troops are based in Japan, 49% of Americans say that this helps "to ensure that Japan does not become a military threat in the region again." Only 19% of the Japanese pick this reason. Most Japanese believe that U.S. troops are in Japan to give "the U.S. a strategic position that enables stability in the world" (38%) or "to protect Japan" (31%).
Another big difference concerns the possible reduction of U.S. troops in Japan. A large 63% to 28% majority of the Japanese favor reducing Americans forces there, compared to an almost identical 63% to 31% majority of Americans who favor maintaining the bases as they are now.
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