View Full Version : Comparing Japan and the world => lifetsyle and confidence in social institutions

Dec 13, 2004, 11:39
Browsing the divine website Nationmaster (http://www.nationmaster.com/), I stumbled upon the following stats.

Confidence in social institutions - Companies (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/lif_con_in_soc_ins_com)

Confidence in social institutions

Surprisingly, only 38% of the Japanese have confidence in companies, the third lowest rate among developed countries after Germany and Denmark. French, Italian and Australian people have the highest confidence, with almost twice that number.

Confidence in social institutions - Parliament (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/lif_con_in_soc_ins_par)

Here Japanese rank lowest with 28%, just before Italy (31%) and not surprisngly with the rampant corruption and scandals and the general inefficiency of Japanese (and Italian) politicians, esp. in the ruling LDP. Only Norway, the Netherlands and Ireland have over half of the people trusting their parliament.

Confidence in social institutions - Press (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/lif_con_in_soc_ins_pre)

Surprise after surprise, Japan ranks first by far in trusting its press with 65%. The second country is Canada with 46% and the last is the UK with only 15% of people trusting their media. I would not attribute this to the quality and impartiality of the Japanese press, but to the naivete and lack of critical sense of the Japanese public. We could also assume that the British legendary skepticism has led to a better and fairer press in the UK. Well let us not oversimplify, since all the tabloids and even recently the Time (since it was aquired by Murdoch) cannot be trusted.

Discuss politics frequently (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/lif_dis_pol_fre)

Unsurpringly, Japan ranks last with only 6% of the Japanese frequently discussing politics. But the results are generally low, with only 15% of Americans doing it and the highest result (Germany) not exceeding 29%.

Happiness and satisfaction

Financial satisfaction (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/lif_fin_sat)

Contrarily to the image of the wealthy Japanese, Japanese people are in fact the 2nd most unsatisfied (after France) about their financial situation. This is certainly due to the economic crisis that persists since 1990, but also to the high-cost of life compared to salaries and the poor quality of housing.
Swiss, Dutch and Belgian people are the most satisfied, which seems quite natural considering the high living standards, peacefulness and high PPP (purchasing parity power) incomes of these countries. Luxembourg is not in the stats, but certainly ranks even higher.

Happiness level : the stats show that
- 14% of Japanese are not very happy or not happy at all
- 63% are quite happy
- 23% ae very happy

In comparison, Americans rank as follow :
- 8% not very happy or not happy at all
- 53% quite happy
- 39% very happy

British people :
- 7% not very happy or not happy at all
- 55% quite happy
- 38% very happy

Dutch people :
- 4% not very happy or not happy at all
- 55% quite happy
- 40% very happy

French people :
- 8% not very happy or not happy at all
- 69% quite happy
- 23% very happy

All in all, Japanese have some of the highest rate of unhappy people and lowest rate of very happy people in the developed world. The jJapanese Net Happiness rate (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/lif_hap_net) is the 19th in the world, with almost all developed countries (except Spain, Italy and Portugal) ranking higher, as well as Venezuela, the Philippines and Poland and the less developed world.

Regarding Life satisfaction (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/lif_lif_sat), Japanese rank 34th out of 69 worldwide, this time after all Western countries.

The stats also revealed that 36% of the Japanese were Not proud of their nationality (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/lif_not_pro_of_the_nat), the highest level of any developed country, which is a bit surprising for such a self-centered, "pure race" based society. The second country is Germany, which can be largely explained by the incredible efforts to raise consciousness of the wrongdoings of WWII (and even WWI). Interestingly, still 13% of the chauvinist French are not proud to be French.
At the other end of the scale, only 2% of Irish and American people are not proud of their nationality. When it comes to who is very pround of their nationality, Americans rank first with 77% (patriotic brainwashing ?). The Germans, Dutch and Japanese rank last. As Belgians and Swiss are next, I'd think that many of the European not proud of their nationality consider themselves European rather than Dutch, Belgian or even German (regional pride being high in Germany).

Drinking habits

Soft drinks

No big news here; Americans consume by far the highest %age of softdrinks (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/lif_sof_dri_con) (216.0 litres per person per year, that is 2/3 of a liter a day !) and the Japanese and French the least (Japanese exactly consume 10x less soft drinks than Americans).

Tea, coffee and water

What came a bit as a surprise is that Japanese are not the heaviest tea (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/lif_tea_con) drinkers, but only ranked 4th (0.9 kgs per person per year) after the UK, Ireland and New Zealand. Indeed, British people drink 2,5x more tea than Japanese people do ! Italy and Belgium are the least tea-enthusiastic counry.

The Nordic countries, followed by the German speaking countries top the list of coffee drinker (to my suprise before all the Latins). The English speaking countries and Japan are the lowest coffee consumers (Starbucks or not).

The Italian, French and Belgians buy the most bottled water, probably due to its readiness and low price in these countries. Japanese drink the least bottled water after the New Zealanders probably because there are so many kinds of teas, juices, etc in the vending machines that do not cost more than bottled water.

Spirits, beer and wine

Anyone who think of the Japanese as overly serious tea-drinkers who react badly to alcohol will be up for a shock here. Japanese are the first per capita consumers of all kinds of spirits (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/lif_tot_spi_con), before the French, Fins, Germans, Irish and Americans.

When it comes to wine (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/lif_win_con), though, Japanese are the lowest consumers after the USA. The first wine drinkers are not the French (2nd), but the Italians, who consume almost 8x as much wine per person as the Americans.

I expected to find the Japanese at the top of beer consumption, but they happen to be last after France and Italy. The Irish, Germans, Austrians and Belgians top the list indecently ingurgitating over 100 liters per person per year. The Irish go as far as 155 liters ! Over half a liter a day as the stats includes children and old people, who don't drink so much.

mad pierrot
Dec 13, 2004, 13:29
Those are some interesting stats. One could draw some big conclusions from them....

Anyone care to speculate?

Dec 13, 2004, 14:07
interesting read. not really much to discuss from what I can see :/

Wasn't exactly surprised by the beer thing though... I've been to Germany and watched them drink and I've been in pubs in Ireland, and they are by far worse.. they'll sit there from right after work until late in the night. downing pint after pint. (and the other brits aren't much worse/better)

A thing that should be mentioned about german beer consumption though, is that swedes (and danes too I think) play atleast a small part in their beer consumption if the numbers are taken from sales. We buy copious amounts of beer from germany because it's about a third of the price it is here.

Dec 14, 2004, 04:02
It's interesting to see how Finland and Japan are somewhat close to each other on quite a few of the lists... Both Japanese and Finns just adore talking about politics :P I'm thinking that maybe the consumption of booze and keenness on talking about politics has a strong connection... ^^;

We buy copious amounts of beer from germany because it's about a third of the price it is here.
It's the same thing Finns do except that we go to Estonia. It's sometimes quite embarrassing to go to Estonia, really, because everyone thinks you're just another Finnish boozer -_- But maybe the fact that everyone thinks I'm 15 helps a bit on escaping that :p

The Japanese political system still amazes me a lot, though :souka: I don't know how frequent scandals on that area are in Japan because I don't actively read about politics - I'm just on a course about the Japanese political system and to me it seems like they have scandals all the time - but it's still really amazing how some politicians manage to keep themselves in the game despite their dirty laundry *_*

mad pierrot
Dec 14, 2004, 13:06
One of the least surprising things to me is the Japanese confidence in the press. Coincidently, I also think it is one of the biggest problems in Japan. Why? Japanese media is incredibly biased, especially the news. For example, when the news reports on the "Rise of Dangerous Foreign Crime in Japan," they show scary images of suspicious looking people while reporting some out-of-context fact all the while playing eerie music. It's almost funny. A great example of how much trust is placed in the media is my supervisor. Once, during a long car ride, he started telling me about Japan's world ranking in various things, i.e. best public housing, best tasting food, least crime, etc. (My favorite example: Japan's beer is the best in the world after Germany.) He insisted it was all true. When I asked how he knew it was true, he replied "I saw it on TV."

AND YES, I know as an American that this is the pot calling the cauldron black. That's a whole other issue.

Jan 4, 2005, 10:54
I was reading these not/proud of lists, and I was thinking, is it this bad here? Then I found the "Will fight for country" list.

:blush: :relief: