Perl is a very good programming language to solve general-purpose problems involving 90% text and 10% just about everything else. It's used for CGI on websites, it's used with databases, it's used with XML and many other things, as a poke around CPAN or PerlMonks will tell you.
Java, on the other hand, is a completely different type of programming language, in that it's object-orientated. That doesn't mean that Perl and Java couldn't solve a given problem, but it just means that there are some things Java could do better than Perl, and vice versa.
If you really want to know whether Perl is better than language x, learn them both (or, even better, persuade those who prefer language x to learn Perl :) ) and try to solve the same problem in both of the languages, and then see which one you start to use more when tasks need to be done.
And remember, if there was a superior programming language, everyone who's anyone would be using it ;)
rozallin j. thompson
The Webmistress who doesn't hesitate to use strict;