Japan poll: 51% in favour of lowering voting age to 18

Japan poll: 51% in favour of lowering voting age to 18

Six parties from both the ruling coalition and opposition parties have jointly submitted a bill to the current Diet session that would amend the Public Offices Election Law to lower the minimum voting age to 18. According to the survey by The Yomiuri Shimbun, support for the proposal exceeded opposition in all age brackets except for people in their 20s and those aged 70 and older.

The rate of those in favour of the amendment stood at 52 per cent among Liberal Democratic Party supporters and at 51 per cent among Democratic Party of Japan supporters and swing voters.

Regarding the age for application of the Juvenile Law, which has been under debate following the recent arrests of three teenagers over the murder of a 13-year-old boy in Kawasaki, 83 per cent said they would support lowering the age to under 18.

The approval rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet dropped slightly to 55 per cent from 58 per cent in the previous poll conducted on February 6 and 7. The disapproval rating was 35 per cent, compared to 34 per cent in February.

Regarding the resignation of former Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Koya Nishikawa for receiving donations from companies that were awarded government subsidies, 73 per cent said it was a necessary move. Asked whether Abe’s Cabinet is properly handling political fund scandals, 30 per cent said they thought so, while 57 per cent did not.

The latest Cabinet approval rate probably reflects the impact of a series of political fund scandals, which have spread and affected lawmakers in both ruling and opposition parties, including Abe and several members of his Cabinet.

The same survey also asked about security-related bills, which the government plans to submit during the current Diet session. Regarding legal arrangements to establish a permanent law to allow the government to dispatch Self-Defense Forces overseas at any time to provide assistance, 42 per cent said they would support them. The same percentage said they would not.

Asked about legal arrangements to allow the SDF to support other forces than the US military in an emergency that could significantly affect Japan’s peace and security, 56 per cent said they would support them. Thirty-four per cent were against such arrangements.

The same survey showed that 36 per cent were for the expansion of the SDF’s right to use arms during peacekeeping operations, while 54 per cent were against it.

Political party approval ratings were 40 per cent for the LDP, down from the previous 42 per cent. This was followed by 9 per cent for the DPJ, down from 11 per cent, and 5 per cent for Komeito, up from 3 per cent.

The nationwide telephone survey was conducted from Friday to Sunday and covered 1,731 households with eligible voters, using a random digit dialing method. Among this group, 1,045 people, or 60 per cent, gave valid answers.

Publication Date : 10-03-2015

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