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Voting Age in Japan Lowered to 18
Written by Sam
June 20, 2016
Legal revisions to lower Japan’s voting age from 20 to 18 took effect on Sunday 19 June in a change that will be applied to the upcoming House of Councillors election scheduled for July 10th. People who are 18 years of age by July 11, the day after the upper house election, will be able to vote in that poll.
Amendments to the Public Offices Election Law changed the voting age for the first time in 70 years, or since 1946 when the minimum voting age was reduced from to 20 from 25.
With the lowering of the voting age, approximately 2.4 million new voters aged 18 and 19 have been added to the electorate. There were around 104.2 million voters at the time of the House of Representatives election at the last national poll in December 2014.
Since parliament passed the amendments a year ago, the government has promoted “voter education” among young people by distributing brochures to high schools across Japan explaining the electoral process and holding events such as “mock elections.”
Electoral officials are also working hard to maximize the turnout among young voters which has been declining in past years. The amendments include a provision enabling voters to cast their ballots for national and local elections at polling stations set up at facilities that attract young people such as train stations, shopping centers and other commercial facilities.