On Sept. 9, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced the findings of its complete survey of the turnout rate for 18- and 19-year-olds at the July Upper House election (constituency vote). The turnout rate for the two ages was 46.78%, with the turnout rate among 18- and 19-year-olds at 51.28% and 42.30%, respectively. The turnout rate among 18-year-olds exceeded that of 19-year-olds in every prefecture.
The turnout rate among 18-year-olds in Tokyo and the five surrounding prefectures exceeded the overall turnout rate (54.70%). Tokyo teenagers had the highest turnout rate of any prefecture for both ages, with 62.23% of Tokyo’s 18-year-olds and 53.80% of its 19-year-olds voting. The turnout rate was also high among 18-year-olds in Kanagawa Prefecture (58.44%) and Aichi Prefecture (58.20%) among others. The turnout rate was lowest for both ages in Kochi Prefecture where only 35.29% and 26.58% of 18- and 19-year-olds, respectively, voted.
Among ordinance-designated cities, the turnout rate for 18-year-olds was very high in Kanto in particular where the voting rate in Saitama, Yokohama, and Kawasaki was over 60%.
Naoko Taniguchi, associate professor of politics at Keio University, analyzes the results as follows: “The turnout rate among 20-year-olds, who have been the youngest to participate in national elections until this year’s Upper House election, has been over 40% so the turnout rate among 18- and 19-year-olds this time is noteworthy. This high rate was influenced by the fact that young people are learning about elections and politics in high school and they have greater interest in social issues. To know whether the impact of education is temporary or not, we will need to watch the turnout rate for future elections.” (Abridged)