Letting the younger crowd vote

Regarding the July 22 front-page article “Ruling bloc takes control of Upper House”: It is said that the votes this time came primarily from the younger crowd. It is also true that the victorious Liberal Democratic Party’s inflationary policies benefit Japan’s younger generation especially, paving the way to a stronger Japan at the expense of the market value of pensioners’ future cash flows.

In the past few weeks, wherever you turned in Japan, you could see ads and posters with smiling celebrities calling upon Japan to vote. It seems that most were targeted at the younger demographic, many of whom possibly would not have voted unless it was cool or unless it was to identify with their favorite artist or TV personality. Often it seemed that the parties that promised the boldest reforms employed the boldest campaign tactics.

I used to wonder about the intelligence of allowing 21-year-old college students to vote, often according to fads and pop icons, and then giving their vote the same weight as that of an informed, mature voter who was legitimately concerned about his country. It is sad, I used to think, how the vote of one possibly frivolous voter, motivated by a sexy ad, could offset the vote of another sincere voter who was motivated by careful, educated deliberation.

But perhaps the votes of this younger demographic is precisely what Japan needed in order to shake itself awake from its deflationary stupor. In fact, was it not the politicians voted into office by the older generation who have kept Japan in financial, economic and political stagnation for the past decades?

What if the bulk of Japan’s growing majority — the senior citizen — has also been voting, whether consciously or not, according to what’s “sexy” for themselves such as maintaining the (deflationary) economic status quo in order to retire comfortably?

Perhaps it is a good thing that the full impact of such ballots are at least partially offset by the votes of Japan’s minority, the youth. Perhaps their votes are actually a force that brings equality to Japan’s election. After all, it is Japan’s future that we are talking about. These youth are Japan’s future.

jun shiomitsu
tokyo

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • 151E

    I think the key point that you touch upon is education. It is vitally important to the well being of democratic nations that their citizens be well educated, with mature critical thinking skills, and a high degree of both scientific and media literacy.