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Promoting Political Participation through Experience-based Political Education
Unformatted Document Text:  Table 3 High School Students’ Interests――――――――――――――――――― rank matters percent ――――――――――――――――――― 1 hobby, sports 81% 2 fashion 62 3 friends 61 4 travel 60 5 love, marriage 50 6 study, future 38 7 family 27 8 environment 26 9 international affairs 17 10 economy, finance 16 11 Japan’s politics 13 12 labor, employment 13 13 defense 12 14 others 9 15 volunteer/civic 8 16 religious 7 17 community 6 18 election 3 19 citizens’ movement 3% ――――――――――――――――――― Source: Compiled by the authors. Note 1: Multi answers Note 2: The number of respondents is 562. Japanese post-war policy toward political socialization could be characterized as “laissez-faire,” and political capacity was thought to be obtained by people spontaneously. This view was not necessarily wrong, given the fact that post-war rapid economic growth and life-time employment system of Japan sustained the social groups relatively stable, and distributional politics made it easy for many to identify which political parties to support based on their group affiliations. These conditions that facilitated Japanese spontaneous political socialization are now disappearing. One way to reverse this trend toward political apathy and to reactivate political participation is sought through the introduction of new voters. Despite the low support among the public, political parties expect that various reforms, including lowing voting age, help increase the interests for politics among the youth, and all political parties support the18-year voting age system. Japan has to date kept the 20-year voting age system, even while 162 other nations (as of November 2006) have introduced 18-year voting age system. Will the lowing of voting age attract young people’s interests for politic? In order for this change to actually lead to higher political interests among the youth, we need to present a solid plan based on the examination of the state of political socialization of high teens as well as that of the roles played by agents for political socialization, rather than just hoping for the positive effects. 8

Authors: Ishibashi, Shoichiro. and Chieko, Otsuru.
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background image
Table 3 High School Students’ Interests
―――――――――――――――――――
rank matters percent
―――――――――――――――――――
1 hobby, sports
81%
2 fashion
62
3 friends
61
4 travel 60
5 love, marriage
50
6 study, future
38
7 family
27
8 environment
26
9 international affairs
17
10 economy, finance
16
11 Japan’s politics
13
12 labor, employment
13
13 defense
12
14 others
9
15 volunteer/civic
8
16 religious
7
17 community
6
18 election
3
19 citizens’ movement
3%
―――――――――――――――――――
Source: Compiled by the authors.
Note 1: Multi answers
Note 2: The number of respondents is 562.
Japanese post-war policy toward political socialization could be characterized as
“laissez-faire,” and political capacity was thought to be obtained by people spontaneously. This
view was not necessarily wrong, given the fact that post-war rapid economic growth and life-time
employment system of Japan sustained the social groups relatively stable, and distributional politics
made it easy for many to identify which political parties to support based on their group affiliations.
These conditions that facilitated Japanese spontaneous political socialization are now disappearing.
One way to reverse this trend toward political apathy and to reactivate political
participation is sought through the introduction of new voters. Despite the low support among the
public, political parties expect that various reforms, including lowing voting age, help increase the
interests for politics among the youth, and all political parties support the18-year voting age system.
Japan has to date kept the 20-year voting age system, even while 162 other nations (as of
November 2006) have introduced 18-year voting age system. Will the lowing of voting age attract
young people’s interests for politic? In order for this change to actually lead to higher political
interests among the youth, we need to present a solid plan based on the examination of the state of
political socialization of high teens as well as that of the roles played by agents for political
socialization, rather than just hoping for the positive effects.
8


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