(Yomiuri: March 9, 2015—p. 1)
The Yomiuri Shimbun conducted a public opinion survey across the nation on March 6-8. In the survey, respondents were asked whether they approve of lowering the legal voting age to “18 and over.” In the breakdown of answers to this question, affirmative answers outnumbered negative ones, with “yes” accounting for a total of 51% and “no” for a total of 43%. A bill submitted by the ruling and opposition parties is now before the current session of the Diet to amend the Public Offices Election Law in order to lower the legal voting age.
In all age brackets other than those in their 20s and those in their 70s, answers in the affirmative about lowering the voting age outnumbered answers in the negative. Affirmative answers accounted for 52% among those in support of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan and 51% among those in support of the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan and also among those with no particular party affiliation.
The Abe cabinet’s support rate was 55%, slightly down from the 58% rating in the last survey conducted Feb. 6-7. The nonsupport rate was 35%.
The government will submit a package of security-related legislative measures to the Diet during its current session. In this regard, respondents were asked whether they approve of creating a permanent law that will facilitate Japan’s response to various situations overseas when dispatching the Self-Defense Forces for activities overseas. When asked about this legislation, public opinion was split, with affirmative and negative answers paralleling at 42%.
In the meantime, respondents were also asked whether they approve of conducting rear-echelon support not only for U.S. forces but also for other foreign forces if and when there is a situation that could affect Japan’s peace and security. In response to this question, “yes” accounted for a total of 56%, and “no” for a total of 34%. Respondents were further asked whether they approve of expanding the scope of authorizing SDF personnel to use weapons when they participate in United Nations peacekeeping operations and other activities overseas. To this question, “yes” accounted for a total of 36%, with “no” for a total of 54%.
In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the LDP stood at 40% (42% in the last survey), followed by the DPJ at 9% (11%) and the Komeito party at 5% (3%). (Abridged)