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LDP panel on Constitution abandons hoped-for minimum age of 18 for referendum votes

Kyodo

A Liberal Democratic Party panel on constitutional revision agreed Thursday on a bill to allow citizens aged 20 or above to vote in national referendums, abandoning its initial hope of setting the minimum threshold at 18.

The decision follows opposition from some LDP lawmakers who claim it would be difficult to set the bar for referendums lower than the age of majority and the minimum age for voting in public elections, both currently at age 20.

The agreed upon legislation, which would revise the national referendum law, suggests that the minimum age for such plebiscites should be lowered from 20 once the two other thresholds, established under different laws, are reduced to 18.

Prime Minister and LDP President Shinzo Abe has shown eagerness to revise the pacifist Constitution to ramp up Japan’s military capabilities, and he has called for a nationwide debate on the issue.

Any proposal for constitutional amendment must be endorsed by a majority in a national referendum after being initiated with the support of at least two-thirds of the members of each chamber of the Diet.