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Osaka governor suggests lowering voting age to 0 to curb population decline

28 Comments
By SoraNews24

The declining population issue in Japan has long been discussed with several eventual doomsday scenarios brought up, from an entire country of people named “Sato” to a more recent study suggesting that upwards of 40 percent of local governments are at risk of going extinct in the next few decades.

And yet, we’ve seen very little in the form of tangible solutions to boost the birthrate, namely alleviating the crippling economic and social factors that make having a kid far less attractive than just traveling or hanging out and playing PlayStation in what little free time people have.

While discussing the issues at a press conference on April 25, Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura of Osaka Prefecture threw out a novel idea that people didn’t seem ready to hear. He suggested giving everyone the right to vote regardless of age, meaning that even a newborn baby would have a valid vote in elections despite not even knowing what their feet are used for.

The idea appeared more as if Yoshimura was spitballing than declaring any concrete plans for election reform, but it drew a lot of criticism from comments online.

“He’s not making sense. I think the Expo is breaking his mind.”

“If I was a reporter I’d ask if it’s OK to pull kids from orphanages for their votes.”

“If children were given the right to vote, some parents would be easily brainwashed into voting for dangerous parties.”

“That’s not a simple policy change. It would be a constitutional amendment.”

“Of course, because Ishin [Yoshimura’s party] is so good at duping the child-rearing generation, they can get more votes.”

“They should cut off voting rights at 75 instead.”

“I don’t think children should have the right to vote, because they can be bullied or pressured by their teachers.”

What Yoshimura was suggesting is called “Demeny voting”, after Hungarian Paul Demeny who popularized the idea in recent years. The core concept is that kids under the conventional voting age could have their votes deferred to their parents, in essence giving a parent an additional vote per child under the voting age. Granted, purists would call this incredibly undemocratic but it does address a crucial problem head-on.

As the birthrate declines so too does the population of parents which in turn makes them less powerful as a voting demographic. As they continue to shrink in numbers, politicians will grow less interested in attending to their needs, thus moving us farther away from any policy that might improve the overall situation.

From a purely pragmatic view, Demeny voting makes sense, and there are other benefits of offering the chance to vote to people at a younger age by making them more aware and interested in the political system so they don’t grow into apathetic voters as adults.

On the other hand, there’s also a whole can of worms in terms of practical issues like who gets the vote when each parent supports different candidates, what happens when parents divorce and remarry, and if non-citizens suddenly get to vote if their children are citizens.

Issues like these, and the fact that most people seem to utterly loathe the idea in general, suggest it may never happen in Japan.

*Source: Kyodo, *Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Tokyo Government to release official dating app

-- Japanese prefectural governor wants foreign tourists to pay special extra fee

-- Japan suffers 37th consecutive year of low birthrate, Japanese people may become extinct someday

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

28 Comments
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How about lower it to -8 months, so that an embryo can vote?

2 ( +13 / -11 )

Rather than use voting to boost demographics, it would be better to use it as a reward to boost critical thinking. Maybe Yoshimura wouldn't even achieve the vote then.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

He’s not making sense. I think the Expo is breaking his mind.”“If I was a reporter I’d ask if it’s OK to pull kids from orphanages for their votes.”

*“If children were given the right to vote, some parents would be *easily brainwashed into voting for dangerous parties.”

The article is complete click bait and the comments are cringe-inducing trying to play to the perceived majority opinion.

The LDP is the "safe" party seems to be the commonly held opinion despite all their corruption.

Allowing babies, with their innocence and random touch, to vote instead of the tiny gerontocratic LDP base seems like a recipe for some change.

What Yoshimura was suggesting is called “Demeny voting”, after Hungarian Paul Demeny who popularized the idea in recent years. The core concept is that kids under the conventional voting age could have their votes deferred to their parents, in essence giving a parent an additional vote per child under the voting age. Granted, purists would call this incredibly undemocratic but it does address a crucial problem head-on.

Yeah it is a neo-lib claptrap recommendation from Yoshimura. Better that he had taken some of the recommendations for the reform of the broken system from Thomas Piketty.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Lots of votes for free ice cream I'd suggest.

Could be a game changer.

An ice cream led economic recovery.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

not a smart move if you ask me. You're basically asking kids who cannot think rationally yet and can be easily manipulated and duped into voting. I smell something fishy here. The next elections, if this idea passes, would be a battle for who can give the tastiest treats for votes.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

hmm april 1st was some days ago...?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The government has no concrete solutions so some stooge borrows an idea made of quicksand. Your tax money not hard at work. Quite pathetic. Maybe we can give dead people a vote and see how that works out.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What will change by parents registering extra votes for their kids?

The sinking birthrate reflects too many people delaying marriage past their prime childbearing years, more and more people not marrying or having kids at all, and those who have kids usually having only one or two.

Is there some magic public policy that would change these trends if only we elected the right politicians to office? No. Expanding childcare and other benefits has thus far only seen birthrates drop. No politicians in any party have put forward proposals that would solve the demographic collapse. Extra votes from parents won’t change the social, moral, and spiritual decay.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Increasing the number of voters will not increase the size of the population.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

not a smart move if you ask me. You're basically asking kids who cannot think rationally yet and can be easily manipulated and duped into voting.

The kids wouldn't vote. Their parents would. The whole idea is that parents gain more votes, and thus more political power, by having more kids. I am not sure this would address the reason developed nations all around the world are experiencing falling total fertility rates, and that seems to be the high cost of living in most of the world that makes raising more kids prohibitively expensive combined with the high demands of the modern workplace that leave couples with too little time and energy for raising a family.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Is there some magic public policy that would change these trends if only we elected the right politicians to office? No. Expanding childcare and other benefits has thus far only seen birthrates drop. No politicians in any party have put forward proposals that would solve the demographic collapse. Extra votes from parents won’t change the social, moral, and spiritual decay.

Life has become expensive. We have two parents working, both work hard to make the money necessary to survive in our big cities. People want more stuff so they work extra hours and save that extra money for things they want. But all that working leaves people with too little time and too little energy to date, or raise a family. We compound that with the high cost of child care for families with two working parents, and city life is too expensive for a family on one pay check.

I think it is going to require a significant reorganization of our priorities in life and accepting living with fewer goodies in order to afford having a family.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Legal age of consent to 0?

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Legal age of consent to 0?

Nice try to make the edgiest possible comment, but you landed on "revolting".

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The people that most benefit from the current unjust situation are also the ones that right now can have more children, if anything this would mean more votes right now to the people that have gotten more benefits from the system as it is.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura of Osaka Prefecture threw out a novel idea that people didn’t seem ready to hear. He suggested giving everyone the right to vote regardless of age, meaning that even a newborn baby would have a valid vote in elections despite not even knowing what their feet are used for.

What an idiot. Who put this moron in office?

lowering voting age to 0 to curb population decline

How does this work now?

Infants and babies can now vote, and that will slow down people NOT having babies?

How are the two related? And are Yoshimura's parents actually related?

Seriously, did this joker, sorry, GOVERNOR actually say any of this?

Japan is in so much trouble.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

He suggested giving everyone the right to vote regardless of age

Man! This Governor is definitely out to lunch. So, if I understand this, even a baby can vote? How is that possible, Governor? I'm sure his constituents are very happy and so is his Party.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Did people actually read the article regarding the logic behind the comment, specifically about the Demeny voting system? Obviously, children would not be able to actually vote. The problem with thinking out loud (and into a microphone) is that people take your comments verbatim. The idea that voting could be adjusted to give a larger voice to the child-rearing generation of voters is interesting, if far-fetched. On a practical level it is not very helpful, but as a theory, it makes sense to me. The older generation is going to continue to dominate politics because of their greater number, so younger voters are going to be increasingly less heard. When they represent the future of the country, it is potentially a big problem.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why not only voting but also being elected then? lol Btw, with a random error quote of about 50% such an elected baby won't be so much worse in its decisions than the currently acting adults.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why not? Surely the babies can't make any worse decisions than the dribbling old idiots running the country.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yoshimura drank too many of those vitamin drinks he was hawking during Covid and all it did was hurt his brain. The idea of an infant voting kind of reminds me of when I went to a restaurant four years back (yup, during Covid) and it had a questionnaire asking your date of birth... and you could circle REIWA as the year.

An infant could not vote... at best it would be their parents voting on their behalf. Might want that for the Isshin no Kai fans, but it'd just ensure more LDP after all.

But here's an idea that is WAYYYYY out there... instead of allowing people to vote the minute they've come out of the womb, why not allow foreigners who have permanent residency, have committed no crimes, and pay taxes to vote? Might shore up some of the small-town City Halls and what not, although truth be told we'd vote you guys out in a heartbeat... which I think you know.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Mmm yes, why not? I'm sure babies toddlers and preteens will be as caught up and interested in politics as their teen and adult counterparts...

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Legal age of consent to 0?

Sounds a bit low. I think it should be at least 8.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura… suggested giving everyone the right to vote regardless of age, meaning that even a newborn baby would have a valid vote in elections

As foolish as it sounds, I’ll give the guy credit for coming up with a unique idea. The usual incentives for having kids - subsidized child-care, flexible work hours, longer parental leave - haven’t made a difference. Maybe giving parents an extra vote for 12 or so would work??

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

purple_depressed_bacon

Mmm yes, why not? I'm sure babies toddlers and preteens will be as caught up and interested in politics as their teen and adult counterparts...

Imagine all the politicians promising to improve the local parks, offer ice cream every day for dessert at school, to get the elementary school student vote.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think this is an ideal world considering because children have no vote but they have a lot of steak in the future. Obviously someone will vote for the child. The way we are going most of the country will be controlled by 80 year old people at course we know what they want.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yet in the US you see arch conservatives advocating raising the voting age above 18 to as high as 25 or even 28. The "thinking" is that conservatives want to deny the franchise to younger voters who they think tend to vote for more liberal candidate and thus taking away some of their voting majorities.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

An infant could not vote... at best it would be their parents voting on their behalf. 

That is the exact point! Parents with kids would have more votes than singles and couples with no kids. More votes becomes more political power and the ability to elect representatives who advocate public policies that benefit families more than businesses.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

He forgot taking his meds. Voters, take note of this next time and vote with your brains.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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