Following the revision of an election law earlier last month, Japan’s minimum voting age was officially dropped from 20 to 18, making the July 10 Upper House election the first ever to include teenage voters. While political parties are utilising social media to connect with the new demographic, one local business is taking a more direct approach, encouraging first-time voters to take an interest in the future of their country by offering a discount on matcha ice cream.
Customers who show a proof-of-voting form received after voting on election day will receive a soft-serve matcha ice cream cone for a 200-yen-discounted price of 100 yen.
The special campaign is being offered by 155-year-old traditional tea-making brand Tsujiri, which will be providing the discount to customers at their Uomachi, Kyomachi and Colette stores in Kitakyushu City in Fukuoka Prefecture. The deal is part of a much wider initiative being organised by the Wakazo Corporation (“Youth Corporation”), who will be implementing the “Senkyo Wari“, or “Election Discount” campaign this year. Following their initial success in 2012 arranging discounts and specials for voters in a number of local areas, the campaign will be back again in full force this year, appealing to an even larger group that includes an estimated 2.4 million new teenage voters.
Discounts this year are to be redeemed within a two-week period, from the day of the election on July 10 until July 24.
Approximately 211 discounts were made available during unified local elections last year, covering everything from food and drinks to fashion, beauty treatments and even car tire services. While the 2015 campaign was offered to voters in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka, Shimane, Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures, the list of participating stores and areas for 2016 are yet to be updated on the official campaign website.
The promotion may be marketed to young first-time voters, but with no upper age-limit for redemption of discounts, we imagine there will be plenty of happy voters around the country this summer.
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