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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 June 3 - 9  > Bill to lower voting age to 18 passed through Lower House committee
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2015 June 3 - 9 [POLITICS]

Bill to lower voting age to 18 passed through Lower House committee

June 3, 2015
The Japanese Communist Party and all other political parties on June 2 passed a bill to lower the voting age from the current 20 to 18 through the House of Representatives Special Committee on Political Ethics and Election Law.

Prior to the vote, JCP lawmaker Ohira Yoshinobu said in support of the bill that the JCP since its foundation has demanded that the minimum age to vote be 18. To allow a broader public opinion to be reflected in the Diet will lead to the full development of parliamentary democracy, he added.

Ohira, however, stated that some problems lie in the background in regard to the motive for introducing the bill. He argued that the bill was proposed because the law on procedures for constitutional revision requires the voting age in elections to be changed to 18. The law sets the voting age of 18 for referendums on constitutional amendments. He stressed that it is unacceptable to use the change in the election voting age as a first step toward a revision of the Constitution.

In addition, Ohira called for overall reform in the existing election system in order to ensure people’s democratic participation in politics. He demanded a greater freedom in election campaigns which are now heavily regulated by the Pubic Offices Election Law. He also demanded that a drastic change in the single-member constituency election system as it cannot accurately reflect public opinion.
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