Arab News Japan held a roundtable press conference on Monday on the findings of a survey conducted by YouGov on how Arabs view Japan.
The press conference was held in the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo in the presence of Japanese and international journalists.
Ali Itani, region head for the newly launched Arab News Japan, discussed the survey’s findings with reporters during a roundtable session.
Results from the poll, which surveyed more than 3,000 Arabic speakers from 18 countries across the Arab world, showed that Arabs hold an overwhelmingly favorable view of Japan, with possible implications for increased ties in tourism, business and diplomacy.
Some of the reporters in attendance believe the Japanese government can benefit from the survey’s findings, especially with regard to the highly favorable view Arabs expressed toward Japan as a potential mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Of those surveyed, 56 percent said they believe Japan would be the most neutral mediator in the conflict, while the EU, the second-most-favored choice, was only favored by 15 percent.
While only 4 percent of survey participants had visited Japan, 87 percent expressed a desire to do so.
Some of the top attractions cited included the environment, such as national parks and UNESCO World Heritage sites; travel, including by bullet train; and food such as sushi and noodles.
The report follows the Oct. 21 launch of Arab News Japan, an English and Japanese bilingual news website and an offshoot of Arab News, the leading English-language daily in the Arab world.
The pan-Arab study was conducted by YouGov and marked the first of its kind to be undertaken on such a large scale.
The poll found that Arabs largely view the Japanese as hardworking, organized and punctual. Arabs also demonstrated a high level of familiarity with Japanese brands such as Toyota, Muji and Sega.
Despite the high level of familiarity with Japanese culture shown by the survey’s findings, it did reveal a few misconceptions about Japanese politics.
For example, 40 percent mistakenly believed that Japan is a member of the UN Security Council, only 30 percent knew that the country does not have a nuclear bomb, and 56 percent were unaware of its political power structure.