politics

Lagging youth vote still a concern in Japan elections

38 Comments
By Ayano Shimizu

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When you’ve been brought up in Japan’s education system which is based on learning what’s been taught rather than how to critically think, these youths won’t be able to decide what’s good for them.

15 ( +24 / -9 )

And ‘this’ is the best they could come up with?:

Following hours of group discussions, the students presented their ideas, ranging from creating an ‘anime’ about candidates, . . .

No wonder things will continue as they have been.

17 ( +24 / -7 )

Minimum age to vote has been reduced to 18. Imagine how different things would be if the maximum age to vote was 65.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

LDP doesn't want the youth to vote because they know they would lose! Keep them consuming and stupid and don't mention the vote word!

10 ( +17 / -7 )

Well then, have special “youth vote nights”. The first can be at Shibuya Crossing this Sat & Sun, Oct 30th & 31st!! - It would be a great international embarrassment to have J youth turn off in droves to celebrate a foreign, pagan holiday BUT not show up to the election polls.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I've talked to quite a few young people who had strong opinions on climate change, gender issues and corruption in Japanese politics. The problem is definitely an education system that doesn't support critical thinking, not helping people to think of solutions or alternatives. But it doesn't help either that this is a hierarchical society in which young people are condescendingly treated as inferiors whose opinion gets easily dismissed. Why should they think their vote matters if everything is run by old men in real life?

A statement from an LDP prime minister that the election is going to "select the future" sounds quite ominous. We all know their idea of the future is rooted in the darkest times of recent history.

16 ( +20 / -4 )

Reading comments above are not accurate.

Why? ?

I've lived overseas for a while, youth in many countries don't vote, are not interested in politics and even if they are, many still don't show up to make it count. That's the reality some people forget on here.

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

Unfortunately it is not just the youth that don't turn out to vote 20's to 40's don't go either it has taken me ages to convince people I know to turn say they would turn up. I spent many hours trying to explain what the political situation is and why voting counted even if the people you vote for don't win and that by not voting you are allowing older people to dictate who wins.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

look at the politicians here and see what they are proposing as "fresh" ideas. Are we actually surprised voters are disenchanted?

13 ( +17 / -4 )

No kidding! If the LDP wants to point fingers as to the why, they need to look in a mirror!

How does anyone expect an 18 year old HERE to vote for anything, when their education includes almost nothing about civic responsibility and what "voting!" is all about!

9 ( +14 / -5 )

When you’ve been brought up in Japan’s education system which is based on learning what’s been taught rather than how to critically think, these youths won’t be able to decide what’s good for them.

So true!

Imagine how different things would be if the maximum age to vote was 65.

That's an EXCELLENT IDEA!!

LDP doesn't want the youth to vote because they know they would lose! Keep them consuming and stupid and don't mention the vote word!

exactly!

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

They should team up each politician with a Pokémon or an idol in their campaigns.

Then the youth would start to vote on things.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Exit polls show high LDP support from the young people who actually go and vote. Higher than other age groups. There will be young people who hate LDP or old Japan, but many of them don't bother to vote.

Anyway, the data suggests the opposition parties get most of their support from the old, and that the LDP has support from voters (i.e., people who actually vote) across all age groups. You cannot blame the old for the LDP. The world is more complex than assumptions that are easy to make.

While I understand the "what would voting do anyway?" opinion, it is also very convenient for those who do not vote out of laziness/gormlessness/being too "me" centered.

https://www.mesoscopical.com/entry/2017/10/30/050000

4 ( +6 / -2 )

ReasonandWisdomNipponToday  07:42 am JST

Reading comments above are not accurate.

Why? ?

I've lived overseas for a while, youth in many countries don't vote, are not interested in politics and even if they are, many still don't show up to make it count. That's the reality some people forget on here.

You may want to check some figures before making "what about..." comments. The article says the turnout for people in the 18-30 range is about 30%. In the UK, where low youth voter turnout is also considered to be a problem, it's 47% and in countries like Germany and Holland the figures are in the 60s.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

I'm not surprised by this. My kids already have seen that these higher up politicians mostly come in one form: 100 percent Japanese, mostly from Tokyo University, male, and following the rule book of their predecessors. Now, some might think that you have to be Japanese. However, my girls do have Japanese citizenship, but they are mixed cultured. My girls seem more interested in US politics than Japanese. Makes sense.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Japanese youth are very apathetic if you compare them to many of other youth from other countries.

For example Germany recently had the election seeing this time the centre-left winning by a narrow margin and the youth in general are more aware and interested about the politic of their country.

As someone wisely pointed before,Japan society is shaped in hierarchy and obeying lacking of critical thinking.

Again,nothing will change… sadly.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Following hours ( good training for workers) of group discussions, the students presented their ideas, ranging from creating an anime about candidates and where they stand on key issues, to handing out discount coupons or hosting mock elections at schools. 

well I guess higher learning is off the table, unless presented by a large breasted huge rounded eyed cartoon character. If that’s their go to than it’s no wonder they are disappointed not interested in 70yo men in I’ll fitting suits.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you. - Pericles

5 ( +6 / -1 )

People need to yell at the youth more, go to a restaurant people yell at you, boss wants to talk to you he yells. TV always people yell at each other, politicians yell at the side of the road, but not loudly enough, obviously. More yelling I say and even less substance, it’s the only way forward. Politicians should wear their sponsors adds on their anima costumes and just yell all the time. It’s about yelling and you genetic history not about substance.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

@Cricky well said

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I've lived overseas for a while, youth in many countries don't vote, are not interested in politics and even if they are, many still don't show up to make it count. That's the reality some people forget on here.

Japan has probably the most politically apathetic youth anywhere, undoubtedly in the "developed " world. Brought up just the way LDP intended....now where is that manga book?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

What avails to almost zero discourse/debate/discussion in schools re the processes of democracy - my daughters can attest to that - young adults have little knowledge about or interest in elections.

Re-writing the social studies curriculum to reflect the 21stC would be a start.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

In Korea, millions of people (especially young people) took to the streets in the candlelight vigil to protest the conservative Park Geun-hye administration's corruption. And then they promtly elected the centre-left Democratic party, the second progressive administration in a decade.

Japanese youth just dont have that kind of desire and vigor.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

"Even if they know the importance of voting, they don't know how to choose who to vote for or who will make the society better,"

How can they know who to vote for when the only thing they ever here is the candidate's name and "Yoroshiku O-negai Shimasu!" Something really has to be done about changing how campaigning works in Japan.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

YeahRight...

Not in my area.... One candidate is 37 years old. I know this as his speaker van has it on repeat. 37!!! I think he has the mid to late 30's vote nailed down.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ahh I remember when misspent youthful days were the stuff of character building, it would appear that now it’s actually misspent youthful days are getting a pretty sad version of education!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

*Shuta Hosotani, a 21-year-old university student and student representative of the organization, said he has seen how disconnected people in his generation are with national politics.*

"I think the biggest reason is that it is difficult to understand what will change or what good will happen from voting," said Hosotani, a fourth-year student at Mie University in central Japan.

Two of my friends, both female with a kid in their twenties, both families being adamantly anti-LDP (for all the right reasons); when asking (through their kids) about how young people think about politics said exactly that about their university-classmates: disconnected, uninterested (mostly due to a shoddy candidate line-up), disillusioned due to things never changing (i.e. the self-realizing LDP-always-wins-prophecy-paradox) and ultimately going along with whoever their parents vote IF their parents bother to vote...

I would rate these two families as "politically conscious", hence their kids being so too. I believe apathy to be the main reason. An apathy being handed over from one generation to another. Sho ga nai. The LDP always wins anyway.-style.

My own take: make voting compulsory.

(On a side-note, during the last GE Edano came to my town to support the local candidate and give a speech (big success amongst a quite numerous public BTW), but on the compulsory voting-issue he clearly said he would not push for it. WHY???

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It makes no relevant difference, except of a higher participation feeling in the democracy. That might be a bit of a considerable effect. Statistically or regarding some interested groups hoping for another and opposing election outcome, it is of no importance, because first, as you all know there aren’t so much younger people anymore, and second, they wouldn’t vote altogether for one opposing party, but of course similarly distributed over all parties like it is done in all other age groups. At maximum, their influence would be a seat or two more here, and a seat or more less there and some more invalid votes. It doesn’t play much a role.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Shiratori said young people should realize that they are the ones who will shoulder challenges linked to the country's mammoth national debt

Nope, if you listen to the political parties some of them are raving about MMT and suggesting that national debt should be greatly increased further.

I don’t think young people will take notice until the current looms precipitate a big enough crisis for the country, finally creating sufficient outrage.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There is no easy fix, first you have to remake the whole educational system, teach them to think for themselves instead of filling their heads with useless information. Never have I seen people study so much and still be so incompetent. Second, why would anyone vote if there is no real option, with the same party being in power since the war people don't want to waste time doing something that doesn't change anything. prosecute all the corruption in the LDP from the past and break up the party, which then hopefully ends up with a couple of smaller parties.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@Henry Montag

Yes, in the true Aussie style.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Even if I could vote in Japan... What would be the point?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Even if I could vote in Japan... What would be the point?

That's pretty much why I don't take citizenship. Voting is the carrot for citizenship, but voting in Japan doesn't carry a lot of weight.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The youth are too busy deciding what gender they want to be or putting on makeup all day and dying their hair blond or smoking cannabis and dreaming of USA superheroes movies and trying to act cool.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

So you lived overseas for a while and now you think you know about the youth of many countries ?

Sounds like you lived in the USA but only traveled to Europe.

Too bad you didn't notice the dramatic difference of European educational systems compared to the USA or the level of responsibility achieved at a younger age by the European youth.

How can a Japanese man possibly relate.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

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