Getting youngsters to vote in next year’s Upper House election may mean coaxing them to be more independent-minded once they leave the nest. And with Japan welcoming 18- and 19-year-olds at ballot boxes next summer, the government is targeting high school students who leave home for university or other reasons to transfer their residence registries, so that they are able to vote in elections. “We want people to vote in the first election held after they turn 18 — and continue to vote in the future,” a senior Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry official said. “Relocating the registry to their current address is the first step.” Japanese citizens are given ballots by municipalities based on their resident registry, and the country’s basic resident register law requires people to transfer their registry when they move.
The Diet enacted legislation in June to lower the voting age to 18 from 20 — the biggest reform of the nation’s electoral laws in 70 years — in an attempt at encouraging younger voters to be more politically active.
But a recent survey by an get out-the-vote organization showed just a quarter of college students and others who live away from their families have transferred their registry to reflect actual addresses. n a survey by Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture’s election board, nearly 70 percent of college students in the area who abstained from voting in the April nationwide local elections listed not having a local registry as the reason.