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64% of 18- and 19-year-olds “opposed” to lowering the legal age of adulthood to 18, Yomiuri poll

  • May 12, 2016
  • , Yomiuri , p. 2
  • Translation

With the lowering of the voting age from this summer’s Upper House elections, the Yomiuri Shimbun conducted a (mail-in) nationwide public opinion poll of 2,000 young people aged 18 or 19 and 2,000 persons aged 20 or over. The survey found that more 18- and 19-year-olds took a negative view of lowering the voting age from 20 to 18 than pollees aged 20 or over. Of those 18- or 19-years old, 64% said they are “opposed” to lowering the legal age of adulthood from 20 to 18, substantially exceeding the 35% who said they are “in favor.” Among those aged 20 or over, 54% are “opposed” and 45% are “in favor.”


Looking at the responses from those 20 or over by age group, 64% of those in their twenties, and around 60% of those in their thirties or forties were “opposed” to lowering the age of adulthood while those in the fifties-and-over age group were about evenly divided on the issue.


When asked why they were opposed (multiple answers permitted), both 18- and 19-year-olds and those aged 20 or over said “because I can’t imagine that those aged 18 or 19 would have the awareness of an adult even if the age of adulthood is lowered.” Almost the same percentage (63%) of the two age divisions indicated “because many 18- and 19-year-olds are not economically independent.”


A higher percentage of both the 18- and 19-year-old age group and those aged 20 or over were in favor of lowering the age to which the Juvenile Law is applied from “under 20” to “under 18.” Some 78% of 18- and 19-year-olds and 86% of those aged 20 or over said they were in favor. Even among 18- and 19-year-olds, the majority said that the Juvenile Law should not be applied to their age group.


When asked which activities currently permitted for those age 20 and over should be permitted from age 18 (multiple answers permitted), 32% of 18- and 19-year-olds said “drinking alcohol,” followed by “marriage without parental consent” at 22%. Those aged 20 or over listed “marriage without parental consent” (27%) followed by “drinking alcohol” (23%). Some 41% of 18- and 19-year-olds and 45% of those age 20 or over said that “none of the activities should be permitted.”


The survey was conducted from the end of March through the beginning of May.


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