According to the data – collected in 2021 – almost half (48%) of Japanese respondents believe their neighbours do not care about their wellbeing, a staggering 16 percentage-points below the world average (32%). At 20%, the proportion who have personally helped a stranger in the past month is also significantly below the worldwide average (32%) – making Japan the lowest-scoring country in the world on both indicators.

The above findings come in the context of official data that reported on the effects of loneliness in Japan, including a rapid rise in suicides since the onset of Covid-19[1]. Japan has since appointed its first cabinet minister devoted to policies addressing high levels of social isolation[2].

The Poll also found that 51% of respondents felt that their government did not care about their wellbeing ‘at all’, which is significantly higher than the worldwide average of 37%.

In contrast, Japanese respondents displayed strength in individual resilience (one of the Poll’s four aspects to calculate the overall Resilience Index), with a score of 0.63, almost 40% higher than the world average (0.46), as well as household resilience (0.64 for Japanese respondents, while the world average sits at 0.54). Individual resilience was calculated by analysing two survey items, which measure agency, self-efficacy and educational attainment, while household resilience highlights financial assets, planning and access to communications.

Dr Sarah Cumbers, Director of Evidence and Insight at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, said: “The World Risk Poll is designed to provide insight for policymakers into which risks are most affecting the lives of populations across the world, and our findings will help them work with communities to support them in the face of natural hazards and other potential causes of disaster.

“For residents of Japan, the latest World Risk Poll shows a significant lack of faith in support and care from neighbours, with higher reliance on individual and household resilience. If policymakers can put more focus on strengthening community support then it will promote even higher levels of resilience across the board.”

Download the report here and the Japan country snapshot here. Country-specific data snapshots for all other countries in the Poll are also available here.

Funding is available from Lloyd’s Register Foundation for further research and interventions using World Risk Poll data to reduce risk and improve resilience. Find out more here.

[1] Fujii, R., Konno, Y., Tateishi, S., Hino, A., Tsuji, M., Ikegami, K., Nagata, M., Yoshimura, R., Matsuda, S., & Fujino, Y. (2021). Association between time spent with family and loneliness among Japanese workers during the C-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional study. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12, 786400.
[2] Mitsunori, I. (2021, December 27). A society with no one to turn to. Nippon.