Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mr. Watanabe's Little Newspaper...

...found the time in all the hubbub to take a poll.

The pollsters found that most of Japan is not entirely appalled by you-know-who's visit to you-know-where.

Over 50% approve of Yasukuni Shrine visit
The Yomiuri Shimbun

More than half of the public supported Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's decision to visit Yasukuni Shrine on Tuesday to commemorate the end of World War II, according to a survey conducted Tuesday and Wednesday by The Yomiuri Shimbun.

According to the survey, which polled 1,832 eligible voters, 1,104, or 60.3 percent, of whom were interviewed by telephone, 53 percent of the respondents either "support" or "somewhat support" Koizumi's visit to the shrine, while 39 percent said "they do not."

As to the reason, 35 percent of those who said they supported his visit said it was a matter of course that a prime minister would console the souls of the war dead and pay tribute to their memory, while 31 percent said a prime minister could visit the shrine to renew his or her pledge not to engage in war. Twenty-five percent said it did not make sense to stop visiting the shrine because of protests by China and South Korea.

Among those who said they did not support the visit, 41 percent cited possibly worse relations with China and South Korea; 27 percent disapproved because Class-A war criminals were enshrined there with other war dead; and 16 percent said it went against the principle of the separation of church and state.

While 33 percent of the respondents said they could understand protests by China and South Korea against Koizumi's Yasukuni visit, 57 percent said they could not.
The Japanese can be found here.

Now that last set of numbers just leaps out at you...until you look back at the original. I wonder whether or not they held a meeting about how they should translate nattoku. Translating nattoku as “understand” represents a rather interesting choice.

In terms of statistics, it should not matter that nearly 40% of those called did not want to participate in the poll. Why the writers/editors should want to grant the refusal rate the honor of the second paragraph is perplexing. Either

1) the writers/editors at the Yomiuri are innumerate,

2) they feel a need to conduct a pre-emptive reaction strike against innumerate critics who will shout, "Oh, yeah...and how many people refused to cooperate with your dumb old poll?" or

3) “Statistical methods, borrowed from the West, do not capture the Japanese people's true feeling. We have a tradition of speaking through not speaking—of non-verbal communication. Ever since the country was unified under the Tokugawa Shogunate…”

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