Japanese high school students are more pessimistic about the future and more interested in living for the day when compared with students in the United States and China, according to survey results released Tuesday by the Education, Science and Technology Ministry.
Only 24 percent of Japanese high school students said that they had hope for the future, the lowest percentage among the three countries. A much higher percentage of U.S. and Chinese high school students–46 percent and 34 percent, respectively–said they held such hope.
The survey was conducted in autumn by two academic research institutes under the jurisdiction of the ministry, including the Japan Youth Research Institute. It targeted 3,600 high school students in the three countries, surveying their opinions on study, lifestyle and their countries.
In the survey, 10 percent of Japanese students answered that their futures would not be very good, while 6 percent replied that their futures would be bad. Japanese students tended to be more pessimistic that U.S. or Chinese students.
When asked about preparations for the future, a high percentage of both U.S. and Chinese students answered they would continue to study hard. But more than half of Japanese students said they placed more emphasis on living a hedonistic lifestyle in the present than on studying for their future while they were young.
Particularly notable among Japanese students were their answers to the question of what they wanted to do now. Many answered that they would like to live in idleness, doing only what they wanted to, or live leisurely without doing anything. A representative of the Japan Youth Research Institute said, “The results show that Japanese young people have no clear idea of how to live.”
The percentage of Japanese students, who rarely study outside schools on weekdays rose to 45 percent from 26 percent in a similar survey taken in fiscal 1980. The number was very high when compared with percentages in the United States and China, showing a decreased desire to learn among Japanese students that reinforced the results of an international academic ability survey released in December.
Also in the survey, 29 percent of U.S. and Chinese students said they were very proud of their countries, while 15 percent of Japanese students held such sentiments.
Although about 50 percent of U.S. and Chinese students said they took pride in their national flags and anthems, about 60 percent of Japanese students answered that they felt nothing about them.
Regarding volunteering, 32 percent of students in the United States and 28 percent in China said they took part in volunteer activities, but only 5 percent of Japanese students said they volunteered, while their parents also performed little volunteer work when compared with those of the other two countries.