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LDP mulls lowering minimum ages for holding public office

  • February 18, 2018
  • , The Japan Times
  • English Press

JIJI

 

Members of the Liberal Democratic Party are proposing that the minimum ages for holding public office be lowered to a uniform 20, it was learned Sunday.

 

The ruling party thinks the measure can spark interest in politics among young people and build more support for the party, LDP sources said.

 

Under the public offices election law, voters must be at least 25 to run for the House of Representatives, local assemblies and mayor in cities and other municipalities.

 

The minimum age for running for the House of Councilors or for governor is 30.

 

In the 2016 Upper House and 2017 Lower House elections, the LDP enjoyed relatively strong support from voters aged 18 and 19, exit polls show.

 

Advocates of the age change think the measure will bring the LDP more support from young voters.

 

The LDP’s Headquarters for Party and Political System Reform Implementation, chaired by Yasuhisa Shiozaki, will hold full discussions on the proposal with an eye to adopting it before the next Upper House election in summer 2019.

 

To do that, the team aims to submit a bill on the age change to the Diet before it closes in June. This would give the conservative party the option of soliciting young candidates to run in the proportional representation segment of the 2019 election if the age can be lowered in time, members say.

 

“I believe it’s good to let lawmakers pursue various employment opportunities after their public services, such as finding jobs at companies,” a member of Shiozaki’s team said.

 

The mid-ranking member also expressed hope that the proposal will trigger a debate on what to do about the politician shortages in many municipalities.

 

But it is uncertain whether such a bill would make it to the Diet so soon because some members, including seasoned veterans, are against the age change proposal.

 

“Candidates should have experience in the real world,” one veteran said.

 

Many opposition parties have called for easing the age requirement as well.

 

In its platform for the 2017 Lower House election, Nippon Ishin no Kai, which is close to the LDP, promised to lower the minimum election ages to 18, the same as the new voting age. The conservative startup Kibo no To (Party of Hope), championed by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, also backs easing the age requirement.

 

The Democratic Party, the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party jointly submitted a bill in 2016 to lower the two minimum ages for public office by five years.

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