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Will Japan's lower voting age engage the youth?

Friday, July 01, 2016 - 01:33

Japan has lowered its minimum voting age to 18 but it's unlikely to inspire young voters disillusioned with politics. Yiming Woo reports.

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Election speeches, ballot-casting, vote-counting -- young people in Japan get familiar with the electoral process ahead of a national poll in July. The country has lowered the minimum voting age to 18 from 20, adding 2.4 million eligible voters. Young people have a minority status in Japan's ageing society. In 2015, those aged 20-34 made up just under a fifth of the voting population. Many here hope policymakers will start considering them, but it's unclear how many young voters will turn up at the polls. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 18-YEAR-OLD HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE, HIROTOSHI NISHIKAWA, SAYING: "I want to go vote if I have time. Around this season I'm pretty busy with studying, so I will go only if time permits." Some say they feel short-changed under current policies. Those under 45 will pay more into the social security system over their lifetimes, than they'll receive in benefits. Many are also stuck in jobs less secure and lower paid than the older generations. Despite this, many elderly Japanese feel they deserved their place in society. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 77-YEAR-OLD, KOUJU ISHII, SAYING: "The elderly used to be the leaders of the Japanese economy, and we worked hard for this. So I agree with politicians creating policies that favour us."

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Will Japan's lower voting age engage the youth?

Friday, July 01, 2016 - 01:33