Japan tries comics, models, talking grain of rice to lure young voters

For the first time, 18 and 19-year-olds in Japan will head to polls. Officials are pulling out all the stops to lure them into the voting booth.
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    Meet Komesuke, a talking grain of rice officials in Japan hope will energize young voters
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    Along with Komesuke, Japan has launched an entire marketing campaign to lure 18- & 19-year-olds that includes manga
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    Japan's voting age was lowered last year— although nearly 2/3rds of these new voters aren't affiliated with either major party
  4. 4.
    Japan, which has the oldest population of any country on Earth, has good reason to engage young people politically
  5. 5.
    Most elderly Japanese vote, but only about a third of people in their 20s voted in a lower house election in late 2014, when overall turnout hit an almost record low
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    Japan's opposition Democratic Party hopes to increase turnout by inviting young people — teen models — to talk sessions with lawmakers
    In these sessions the models and officials chat about the latest cellphone apps and gossip about romance between members of parliament. At a recent event, participants suggested free ice cream and more shelters for abandoned pets as policies they wanted the government to adopt
  7. 7.
    Not everyone is onboard with Japan's young voter drive — the manga has been bashed for belittling young people and women
    One 29-year-old Japanese Communist Party local politician, Daisuke Hatori, tweeted that "the content is hopeless"
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    The effectiveness of the get-out-the-vote drive aimed at young Japanese won’t be known until after July's elections
    "We're aware of the criticism, but we believed this is the best way to get young people to understand voting," says a public relations official with the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan
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    Read the full story here: http://on.wsj.com/29mQfuK