Japanese adults are far less worried about Russia than they are about China or the U.S. Only about four-in-ten (43%) think Russia poses a major threat to Japan. And nearly two-thirds (64%) voice an unfavorable view of Russia, while just 26% see Moscow favorably.
There is, however, a significant generational difference in perceptions of Russia: 53% of Japanese ages 18 to 29 hold a positive view of their northwestern neighbor, but only 16% of Japanese ages 50 and older agree.
This generation gap may be due to the young-old divide over Russia’s civil liberties record. Overall, 23% of Japanese say Russia respects the personal freedoms of its own people and 61% say it does not. But 60% of young Japanese believe Moscow respects the human rights of its people, while only 11% of older Japanese agree.
Most Japanese do not trust Russian President Vladimir Putin. Nearly two-thirds (64%) lack confidence in him to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Just 28% express confidence. But perception of Putin divides along age and gender lines. Among the young, 49% voice confidence, while only 17% of older Japanese trust his handling of international relations. And men (33%) are more confident in the Russian leader than women (24%).