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Sunday, April 30, 2006

45% of public worried about war: poll

Staff writer

A government survey released Saturday shows that 45 percent of the public is worried about the possibility of the country getting involved in a war, the highest figure since the poll was started in September 1969.

Asked what are the biggest issues concerning Japan's peace and safety, 63.7 percent of the respondents pointed to the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, followed by international terrorism at 46.2 percent and China's modernization of its military and its maritime activities with 36.3 percent. More than one answer was permitted.

The answer regarding China was included in the survey for the first time.

The poll, conducted every three years, also found record-high interest -- 67.4 percent -- in defense issues and the activities of the Self-Defense Forces.

The previous record was 67.3 percent in the poll conducted Jan. 31 to Feb. 10 1991, weeks after the U.S. launched the Gulf War against Iraq.

"I think the SDF activity that drew the most attention was the mission in Iraq," said a Defense Agency official who briefed reporters on the poll results.

The Ground Self-Defense Force has dispatched some 600 troops to southern Iraq for humanitarian and reconstruction aid. The poll was conducted on 3,000 people aged 20 or older.

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The Japan Times

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