In the week before the vote in the House of Councillors, The Japan Times conducted a poll in Tokyo, Osaka and Hiroshima. Approximately nine out of ten respondents favored having the Hinomaru as the national flag, and six out of ten supported Kimigayo as the national anthem. Overall, about 46 percent were in favor of the bill. Respondents thought of the Hinomaru as the flag of Japan and that its history should be taught. Some felt that Kimigayo was an inappropriate anthem for modern Japan; one respondent suggested using the song "Sakura Sakura" instead. Another suggestion was to keep the melody of Kimigayo but replace the lyrics.
A March 1999 poll conducted by the Yomiuri Shimbun and one by the Japan Research Council on Public Opinion Polls in July 1999 yielded different results from the poll by The Japan Times. In the former, taken after the suicide of Toshihiro, 61 percent felt that the symbols of Japan should be the Hinomaru as the flag and Kimigayo as the anthem; 64 percent felt it desirable to have both symbols used at school ceremonies, and percent felt both symbols should be enshrined in law. The poll by the Japan Research Council on Public Opinion Polls showed similar results; 68 percent felt that both the Hinomaru and Kimigayo were the symbols of Japan; 71 percent supported the bill in the Diet. Both polls had slightly less than 2,000 respondents. There was 15 percent more support for the Hinomaru than for Kimigayo; the lyrics of Kimigayo were directly associated with the emperor. Both polls also showed that older generations had a greater attachment to the symbols, while younger generations exhibited more negative feelings.
Read more about this topic: Act On National Flag And Anthem (Japan)
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“Constitutional statutes ... which embody the settled public opinion of the people who enacted them and whom they are to governcan always be enforced. But if they embody only the sentiments of a bare majority, pronounced under the influence of a temporary excitement, they will, if strenuously opposed, always fail of their object; nay, they are likely to injure the cause they are framed to advance.”
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