Record support for Japan's Self Defense Forces' size expansion, poll shows

An opinion poll by the Japanese government shows that the proportion of people who think the size of the Self Defense Forces should be expanded hit a record high.

The Cabinet Office conducted the poll from November through December last year to find out the public's thoughts on the SDFs and defense issues. Of the 3,000 adults aged 18 and older targeted in the mail survey, 1,602 people, or 53 percent, responded.

Respondents were given summaries on the strength of the armed forces of neighboring countries, then asked what they thought about the scale of Japan's SDFs.

Of the respondents, 53 percent said the scale should remain unchanged.

Those who replied that the scale should be expanded made up 42 percent. It is the highest rate since the government began asking the same question in 1991, though the polling method has changed.

Four percent said it should be made smaller.

Regarding the use of advanced technology from university research institutes or private businesses in the defense field, 84 percent agreed while 15 percent disagreed.

The Defense Ministry said the results apparently reflect the severe security environment surrounding Japan, including Russia's invasion of Ukraine, China's increased maritime activities and North Korea's repeated launches of ballistic missiles.