Japanese tech firms to guide newly-eligible teenagers to vote

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Tokyo, June 12 (IANS) Tech companies, including Yahoo and Facebook, are set to run campaigns in Japan to encourage the youngest generation of voters to cast their ballots in the country’s upcoming July elections.

Japan last year lowered the minimum voting age from 20 to 18 years, Efe news reported.

In the elections to the upper house of Japanese Parliament on July 10, around 2.4 million youngsters aged between 18 and 19 will be able to cast votes for the first time, following an amendment to the electoral law.

Yahoo Japan will launch a webpage listing the 20 most relevant issues for young voters in a bid to help them decide which party to support.

Among the topics are work conditions, fiscal policy and the recent reform of Japan’s pacifist constitution.

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The online portal aims to help the teenagers pinpoint the party that best fits with their views.

Facebook plans to also send a message to its 18 and 19-year-old users on election day to remind them about their right to vote.

Facebook’s Global Politics & Government Outreach Manager Katie Harbath said youths will be encouraged to vote when they see on Facebook that their friends plan to do so.

Other internet companies like Cyber Agent and messaging app Line — both highly popular among this age group in Japan — are also expected to follow suit with similar initiatives.

In July 2015, the country’s parliament reduced the minimum voting age from 20 to 18 years, the biggest reform in the Japanese electoral system since 1945 and an amendment that puts Japan on par with most democracies in the matter.

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The government is also contemplating lowering the minimum age for contesting for public office to 18.

Currently, a person in Japan assumes full adult legal rights and responsibilities at the age of 20.



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