• Kyodo

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Just 45 percent of newly enfranchised 18- and 19-year-olds cast ballots in Sunday’s Upper House election, lower than the overall turnout, according to the internal affairs ministry.

Turnout among teen voters stood at 45.45 percent, 9.25 percentage points lower than the overall rate of 54.70 percent, a ministry poll showed Monday.

The poll also showed that the voting rate of 18-year-olds was higher than that of 19-year-olds.

Sunday’s election was the first nationwide poll after the Public Offices Election Law lowered the voting age to 18 from 20, making 2.4 million teenagers eligible to cast ballots.

The ministry conducted the poll based on 11,480 voters sampled from all 47 prefectures and plans another survey covering all voters, with that result to be released sometime after August.

Political parties had attempted to harness the power of the internet and held special events to reach out to young voters.

Those efforts, however, appeared to fall on deaf ears among teens, although turnout was still higher than the 33.37 percent of voters between the ages of 20 and 29 in the previous Upper House election in 2013.

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