The Embassy of Estonia in Tokyo commissioned the first survey on Estonia’s image to find out how much and what do people in Japan know about Estonia, which areas are considered our strengths and which areas should be developed further.
The Japanese pollster Carter JMRN conducted the nation-wide survey in March this year, covering people aged 18-69. The sample included 10’000 people, with in-depth interviews conducted with 1’000 people. The survey showed that nearly 10 per cent of the population knows Estonia to some extent.
Most of the people interviewed knew Estonia’s geographic location, basic facts on history and politics, and could list some Estonia’s best-known industries. IT, tourism, wooden house and transport companies were mentioned most frequently, as well as design, culture and food. Respondents knew Estonia as the most advanced digital state, safe and friendly country.
The best known Estonian among the Japanese people is Kaido Höövelson, a member of the Estonian Parliament (better known in Japan by his the sumo wrestler’s name Baruto). He was followed by Paavo Järvi, the former chief conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Carmen Kass, super model, Ott Tänak, rally driver and WR Champion.
It was revealed that those respondents who tended to have a positive image of Estonia were also more interested in visiting the country. They highlighted Estonia’s unspoilt and beautiful nature, city scenery and culture most frequently. The negatives aspects that were mentioned included cold weather, inaccessibility and insufficient information available in Japanese about Estonia.
The survey indicates that a greater awareness of the Japanese about Estonia also increases their interest in visiting Estonia. Nearly half of the respondents considered tourism and gourmet food the areas that interested them in particular. Estonia also has a great potential to advance business diplomacy by presenting and offering various high-quality Estonian products, services and cultural events to the locals. Respondents considered business environment rather favourable and stable, in particular the younger age group of 18-29. Our skills and experience can also be used as an example in Japan in the domain of IT and digitalisation and contribute to the development of innovative solutions.
The first image survey would help companies better to prepare for entering the Japanese market and choosing a right strategy. It also serves as a good benchmark ahead of Estonia’s participation at the Osaka EXPO in 2025.
The survey in full in English is enclosed here.