What Do People in Japan Believe? An Asahi Shimbun Poll Shows It All

April 8, 2008

I have to admit. It’s always seemed a bit funny and surprising to me when I heard friends assert that it wouldn’t rain, even when I could smell it in the air and see the clouds a-coming. I’ve been told on a Sunday that it would snow on Wednesday, and right up until Thursday my friend would say, “You’ll see.”
I try to be a nice guy so I don’t play I-toldja-so or anything later. The power of people to believe something despite the evidence in front of them has never ceased to amaze me.

But on to the poll:

  1. FAMILY (97%) – ok, no problem with that…
  2. WEATHER FORECAST (94%) – absolutely insane. This is a mountainous island with winds and all kinds of crap affecting the weather patterns.
  3. The NEWSPAPER – crazy… well, especially given the unhealthily close relationships businesses, the government, the media, et al have.
  4. Science (Technology) (86%) – I’m not even sure what they mean by this…it’s a safe bet that people don’t normally consider the relationship between industry, and said industry’s scientific “findings”.
  5. The DOCTOR (81%) – This is why doctors here always seem so surprised when I question them (especially the medicine they prescribe). Doctors here make a lot of money off of the medicines they prescribe or “recommend”. If anyone has been to a doctor here, I’m sure you were prescribed some little powder packets to take with your medicine to “protect your stomach”. Were you ever given something like that in your own country? Exactly. I always refuse them. Doctors are often not even required by law to be open with patients. If people are interested, I would be happy to blog about this kind of thing, including the recent decision by the medical board that says obstetricians are not required to inform patients in certain cases, even if they feel there is a risk the child will be born with Down’s Syndrome or some other genetic problem. They don’t even need to recommend an amniosis. It’s all left to the doctor’s discretion… which I guess is ok if 81% of the population thinks that doccie knows best.

This poll was published on Asahi Shimbun’s Japanese site, but no longer exists there. I’m sure if you fish around searching in Japanese you can find a cache.