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2014年12月14日 (日)

あす投票 ネット情報も有効活用しよう

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Online information is effective tool for voters in lower house election
あす投票 ネット情報も有効活用しよう

With voting day for the House of Representatives on Sunday, we hope voters will closely examine the policies of each political party and candidate before going to the polls.
 衆院選はあす、投票日を迎える。各政党や候補者の訴えをしっかりと吟味したうえで、投票所に足を運びたい。

It is an important election not only for its judgment on what the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has achieved in the past two years, but also because the result will set the nation’s future course. There are many points of contention, including economic policies. Amid a declining and aging population, how should the costs for social security be covered? How should the nation’s peace and safety be maintained?
 安倍政権の2年間の評価が問われるとともに、今後の日本の針路を定める重要な選挙だ。経済政策をはじめ、論点は多い。人口減少と高齢化が進む中で社会保障費をどう賄うか。日本の平和と安全をいかに維持するのか。

A ban on using the Internet for election campaigns was lifted in the House of Councillors election last year. The Internet is being utilized in this election as a means of activating policy debates among each party.
 昨年の参院選で解禁されたインターネットによる選挙運動は今回も、各党の政策論争を活発化させる手段として利用されている。

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party added a feature to its website on which voters can access pictures and comments from each party candidate sent through Twitter and Facebook. The major opposition Democratic Party of Japan used a video-sharing website to give out information on candidates’ election campaigns.
 自民党はホームページに、各候補がツイッターやフェイスブックで発信した写真やコメントを閲覧できるサイトを設けた。民主党は動画投稿サイトを使い、候補者らの遊説の様子を流している。

The two coleaders of the Japan Innovation Party have introduced party candidates through Twitter. Komeito, a ruling coalition partner, made a site to ask for support for introducing a reduced consumption tax rate system when the tax is raised to 10 percent. The Party for Future Generations and the Japanese Communist Party use animated characters on their websites to promote their policies to younger generations.
 維新の党は2人の共同代表がツイッターで候補者を紹介し、公明党は消費増税時の軽減税率導入に支持を求めるサイトを作った。次世代の党と共産党はアニメのキャラクターを登場させるなど、若者を意識した取り組みも目立つ。

Eligible voters can easily confirm the stances of political parties and candidates through personal computers and smartphones without going to places where the candidates make speeches. We encourage browsing these sites before going to the polls.
 有権者は、演説会場に行かなくても、パソコンやスマートフォンなどで手軽に政党や候補者の主張を確かめられる。投票前に閲覧してみてはどうだろう。

Lack of interest problematic

However, it seems interest in the election among eligible voters has not necessarily increased.
 もっとも、有権者の関心は必ずしも高まっていないようだ。

According to surveys by The Yomiuri Shimbun conducted after the official start of election campaigning, only 69 percent said they are interested in the lower house election, 12 percentage points lower than found in the previous lower house election in 2012. Respondents who said they will go to the polls no matter what stood at 62 percent, six points lower than that in the previous election.
 公示後の読売新聞社の世論調査では、衆院選に「関心がある」と答えた人は69%にとどまった。2012年の前回衆院選時を12ポイントも下回る。「必ず投票に行く」との回答も6ポイント減の62%だった。

The voting rate in the 2012 lower house election was 59.32 percent, the lowest it has ever been since the end of World War II. But observers warn voter turnout for this election could go even lower.
 前回の投票率は戦後最低の59・32%を記録したが、今回はそれを下回る恐れも指摘される。

The background of the expected lower voting rate is the DPJ’s inability to field enough candidates to achieve a majority in the lower house, which left voters further uninterested in “the choice of administration” in the election. The large decrease in the number of candidates running also narrows voters’ choices.
 背景には、民主党が定数の過半数の候補者を擁立できず、「政権選択」色が薄れたことがある。立候補者の大幅減で、有権者の選択肢が狭まった影響もあろう。

Especially worrying is that young people are becoming more and more alienated from elections. According to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, the voting rate of those in their 20s in the 2012 lower house election was 38 percent, 21 percentage points lower than the average of all the generations and half of the rate for people in their 60s.
 特に懸念されるのが若い世代の選挙離れである。総務省によると、前回衆院選の20歳代の投票率は38%で、全世代の平均より21ポイントも低い。60歳代の半分に過ぎない。

Now, policies for fiscal rehabilitation and social security will greatly influence the burdens on young people in the future. However, if the number of young people who express their will through elections is small, political parties will not think highly of these young people and each party could attach too much importance to policies for the elderly.
 財政再建や社会保障政策は、今の若者の将来負担を大きく左右する。だが、選挙で意思表示をする若者が少なければ、政党から重視されず、各党の政策が、より「高齢者偏重」になりかねない。

The ruling and most opposition parties have agreed to lower the minimum overall voting age to 18 from the current 20, and the votes of young people will take on added significance. We hope they will act in accordance with such a situation.
 与野党の大半は選挙権を「20歳以上」から「18歳以上」へ引き下げることで合意しており、若者の投票は今後、重みを増す。それに応える行動を取ってほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 13, 2014)Speech

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