Attitudes to Genetic Engineering

Japanese and International Comparisons

Darryl R. J. Macer, Ph.D. Eubios Ethics Institute 1992


Copyright1992, Darryl R. J. Macer. All commercial rights reserved. This publication may be reproduced for limited educational or academic use, however please enquire with the author.

10. Questionnaire


pp.155-158 in Attitudes to Genetic Engineering: Japanese and International Comparisons D.R.J. Macer (Eubios Ethics Institute, 1992).
An introductory note was given on the questionnaires, and these were shown in chapter 2 (page 12). The questions on the general questionnaire are listed below (note that the numbers of several questions on the public questionnaire were different, as discussed in the text, and some questions (Q15, Q16h,i, Q21), were omitted):

Q1. Which of these statements best describes your interest in science and technology? Would it be...?
1 Not at all interested 2 Not very interested 3 Interested
4 Very Interested 5 Extremely Interested

Q2. Do you ever read magazines that are devoted to science or technology? Would it be...?
1 Never 2 Rarely 3 Yes, occasionally 4 Yes, frequently

Q3. Do you ever watch any television programmes about science or technology? Would it be...?
1 Never 2 Rarely 3 Yes, occasionally 4 Yes, frequently

Q4. Do you ever read any articles or reports in newspapers, magazines about science or technology? Would it be...?
1 Never 2 Rarely 3 Yes, occasionally 4 Yes, frequently

Q5. We will ask you about some particular scientific discoveries and developments. Can you tell me how much you have heard or read about each of these. Please answer from this scale.
1 I have not heard of this
2 I have heard of this, but know very little/nothing about it
3 I have heard of this to the point I could explain it to a friend

How much have you heard or read about?
Biological pest control Silicon chips Biotechnology
Fibre Optics Agricultural Pesticides In vitro fertilisation
Superconductors Genetic engineering

For each of these developments that you have heard of;
Q5b. Do you personally believe (DEVELOPMENT) would be a worthwhile area for scientific research in Japan?
1 Yes 2 No 3 Don't know (only in public questions)

Q5c. In the area of (DEVELOPMENT) do you have any worries about the impact of research or its applications?
1 Yes 2 No 3 Don't know (only in public questions)

Q5d. For each development where you are worried; could you please tell me how worried you are, using this scale...about the impacts of (DEVELOPMENT) ?
1 I am slightly worried about this 2 I am somewhat worried about this
3 I am very worried about this 4 I am extremely worried about this

Q6. Overall do you think science and technology do more harm than good, more good than harm, or about the same of each?
1 More harm 2 More good 3 Same
Q7. Can you tell me how much you have heard or read about...?
Manipulating genetic material in human cells
Manipulating genetic material in microbes
Manipulating genetic material in plants
Manipulating genetic material in animals
Use this scale...
1 I have not heard of this
2 I have heard the words but no more
3 I have heard the words and have some understanding of the idea behind it

Please answer the questions below:
Q7b. Which, if any, of those biological methods you've heard of are acceptable to you for any reason?
1 Acceptable
2 Unacceptable (If unacceptable write why each one is not acceptable to you)

Q7c. Which of those biological methods, if any, of those you've heard of could provide benefits for Japan?
1 No benefit
2 Benefit (If a benefit, what benefits do you believe each one could produce?)

Q7d. Which, if any, of those biological methods could present serious risks or hazards in Japan?
1 Risk
2 No risk (If a risk, what serious risks or hazards do you believe each one could present in Japan?)

Q8a. Before today, were you aware that genetically modified organisms, such as bacteria, plants and animals, can be used to produce food and medicines?
1 Yes 2 No

Q8b. If any of the following were to be produced from genetically modified organisms, would you have any concerns about using them?
1 No Concern 2 Concern.
For each product that you are concerned about, what concerns would you have about using it?
Dairy products Vegetables Meat Medicines

Q9. Some genetic diseases can be detected in the fetus during the early stages of pregnancy. Do you think such tests should be available under national health insurance? 1 Yes 2 No 3 Don't know

Q9b. Would you personally want such a test during (your/your spouse's) pregnancy? 1 Yes 2 No 3 Don't know

Q10. If there were genetic tests that would tell a person whether they or their children would be likely to have serious or fatal genetic disease, would you approve or disapprove of making those tests available under the national health insurance through a physician?
1 Approve 2 Disapprove 3 Don't Know

Q11. If genetic tests become available that would indicate whether or not a person is likely to develop a fatal disease later in life, although it hasn't started yet, would you personally take such a test or not?
1 Would take test 2 Would not take 3 Don't Know

Q12. If genetic tests become available that would indicate whether or not it was likely that your children would inherit a fatal genetic disease, would you personally take such a test before having children or not?
1 Would take test 2 Would not take 3 Don't Know
Q13. If tests showed that you were likely to get a serious or fatal genetic disease later in life, how willing would you be to undergo therapy to have those genes corrected? 1 Very willing 2 Somewhat willing
3 Somewhat unwilling 4 Very unwilling 5 Don't know

Q14. If you had a child with a usually fatal genetic disease, how willing would you be to have the child undergo therapy to have those genes corrected?
1 Very willing 2 Somewhat willing 3 Somewhat unwilling
4 Very unwilling 5 Don't know

Q15. In your opinion, which of the following best describes the media coverage of science and technology in Japan? 1 Excellent 2 Very poor
3 Good 4 Average 5 Poor 6 Very Poor 7 Extremely Poor

Q16. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements that other people have made? 1 strongly disagree 2 disagree
3 neither agree nor disagree 4 agree 5 agree strongly

a. Science makes an important contribution to the quality of life in Japan.

b. If a scientist working in a government department made a statement about the safety of a research project, I would believe it.

c. I would usually believe statements made by a company about the safety of a new product it had released.

d. The activities of scientists in Japan should be more closely regulated to protect public safety.

e. Science should receive more government support in Japan.

f. Genetically modified plants and animals will help Japanese agriculture become less dependent on chemical pesticides.

g. Decisions about Japanese science and technology policy should not be made hidden from the public.

h. Japanese scientists have mostly left it to others to communicate science to the public.

i. Public understanding and awareness of science is generally very poor.

j. Students should be informed about the social issues associated with science and technology so that they can participate in contemporary debates.

Q17. People who create something original can obtain financial reward for their efforts through patents and copyright. Have you heard of patents or copyright?
1 Yes 2 No
Q17b. In your opinion, for which of the following should people be able to obtain patents and copyright? 1 Approve 2 Disapprove 3 Don't know
New Inventions, such as consumer products
Books and other information
New plant varieties
New animal breeds
Genetic material extracted from plants and animals
Genetic material extracted from humans

Q18. What things are the source of your feelings about these issues?
(MARK ALL THAT APPLY)
1 What your friends or family have said 2 What you have heard on the television
3 What you read in the newspaper 4 Your religious belief
5 Other (Write down)
Q19. If there was no direct risk to humans and only very remote risks to the environment, would you approve or disapprove of the environmental use of genetically engineered organisms designed to produce...?
1 Approve 2 Disapprove 3 Don't know
Frost resistant crops
More effective pesticides
Bacteria to clean up oil spills
Disease resistant crops
Larger game fish

Q20. How do you think biotechnology research should be regulated?
1 Standards and practices decided by government
2 Standards and practices agreed upon jointly by industry and government
3 Standards decided by industry
4 Left to the discretion of individual researchers or companies
5 Other (Please write)

For academics:
Q21a. Have you ever taught about genetic engineering at high school?
1 Yes, undergraduate students 2 Yes, postgraduate students 3 No

For teachers:
Q21a. Have you ever taught about genetic engineering at high school? Circle all that apply.
1 Yes, third year students 2 Yes, second year students
3 Yes, first year students 4 No

For both teachers and academics:
Q21b. Have you ever discussed in class the social, ethical and/or environmental issues associated with genetic engineering? Circle all that apply.
1 Yes, social issues 2 Yes, ethical issues 3 Yes, environmental issues 4 No

Q21c. Do you think that more room should be made in the curriculum for discussion of these issues associated with genetic engineering? Circle all that apply.
1 Yes, social issues 2 Yes, ethical issues 3 Yes, environmental issues 4 No

For teachers, information about the school was also asked:

What is the number of students at your school?
1 0-200 2 201-600 3 601-1500 4 1501+
What type of school do you teach at?
1 Public high school in urban area 2 Public high school in rural area
3 Private high school in urban area 4 Private high school in rural area

All groups were asked for basic statistical information:

Sex: 1 Male 2 Female
Age: ( ) years
Occupation: (Speciality: for scientists)
Marital status: 1 Single 2 Married 3 Divorce/Widow 4 Other ( )
Children: 1 None 2 Pregnant 3 Number ( )

Education: 1 High School 2 Two year college Family income: 1 <500,000 2 500,000 - 800,000 Address: (Prefecture City Suburb)
Please send comments to Email < asianbioethics@yahoo.co.nz >.

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