In light of the fact that the voting age will be lowered to 18 from this summer’s Upper House elections, the Yomiuri Shimbun conducted a mail-in survey of 2,000 persons aged 18 or 19 and 2,000 voters aged 20 or more.
More than half (57%) of those aged 18 and 19 thought it was good that the voting age is being lowered while 59% of voters age 20 or over also thought this was a positive development. Meanwhile, both age groups took an affirmative position, with 59% of those aged 18 or 19 and 61% of those aged 20 or over saying they “hoped” that lowering the voting age would lead to the greater reflection of young people’s opinions in politics.
However, among those age 18 or 19 only 37% said they were either “interested” or “somewhat interested” in the Upper House elections in contrast to the 66% of those age 20 or over who indicated interest in the upcoming elections. Some 66% of those 18 or 19 years old and 86% of those aged 20 or over said that they would either “vote” or “probably vote.” This implies that there are many 18- and 19-year-olds who are either confused about voting in their first election or do not realize the importance of one vote. It looks like initiatives to increase the number of those who actually go vote will be important.
When asked what they would value in deciding how to vote (up to three answers permitted), 51% of those aged 18 or 19 said “the economy and jobs” while 66% of those aged 20 or over said “social security system, including healthcare and pension.”
Respondents were also asked which media they would use in deciding how to vote (up to three answers permitted). Some 56% of those aged 18 or 19 said “commercial television,” followed by 52% Internet (on smartphones), and “NHK television” and “newspapers” at 41% each. In contrast, 71% of those age 20 or over said they would get their information from “newspapers.”
The voting age will be lowered to 18 starting from the national election that has postings from June 20. The survey was taken from the end of March through the beginning of May (the age of the respondents is as of April 30).