The Japanese are more optimistic about their economy than at any time in the last 20 years, but believe that the next generation will have a worse future and fear the labor impact of automation, according to a survey.
According to a Pew Research Center survey published today, 44% of Japanese believe that the country's economy is good (34 points more than in 2009, at the dawn of the global financial crisis), although only 15% think that the next generation will live better than their parents, while 2% believe they will be the same.
This is one of the lowest levels of optimism for the next generation among the 27 countries studied by the US center, a pessimism that "may be linked to concerns about automation," the survey notes.
Nearly nine out of ten Japanese (89%) believe that in the next half century robots and computers will do much of the work currently performed by humans and 74% believe that this will lead to the lack of employment and 83% that will contribute to worsen wage inequalities.
Japan is with 303 industrial robots per 10,000 workers the fourth most automated economy in the world after South Korea (631), Singapore (488) and Germany (309), according to a report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) published this year.
The Asian country has been resorting to automation to alleviate the accelerated demographic aging and the fall in the birth rate, which is expected to lead to a population decrease from 127 million to 88 million in 2065, says the study.
The use of this technology in the world of work would also be linked to the reluctance of the Japanese towards immigration: 58% believe that the Government should keep it at its currently insignificant level, while 23% believe that it should accept more immigrants and 13% want fewer members from other nations.
This reticence does not seem to reflect the vision of the immigrants that the Japanese have, with 59% who think that they strengthen the country with their work and talent, and 60% and 52% who do not believe that their presence entails a greater risk of terrorism or an increase in crime, respectively.
The number of foreigners residing in Japan is approximately two million, according to the data collected on the portal of the Immigration Office of the Japanese Ministry of Justice.
The survey also inquires about the perception of the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (in office since December 2012) among the Japanese, who in 48% of cases trust their good work, their lowest level since the first term of office. Abe (2006-2007) and below the maximum of 62% registered in 2015.
On the other hand, 56% are dissatisfied with their democratic system and are especially skeptical of the elections (62% think they do not change anything), with the attitude of the officials, that a majority (62%) believe that they do not They worry about people, and corruption: 53% consider that most of their politicians are corrupt.
The Pew Rerearch Center survey was conducted between May 24 and June 19, 2018 with a sample of 1,016 Japanese.