Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds – Money and PoliticsResults of 63rd installment announced – 90% of respondents say Japanese politics ‘Not clean’ and more than 80% cite ‘Lack of accountability’

The 63rd installment of the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds, launched by The Nippon Foundation in October 2018, was carried out on April 12-14 to gauge young people’s views on Japanese politics and politicians. The theme was chosen against the backdrop of a fundraising scandal involving several national Diet (Japan’s parliament) members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party that has been a major news story since the beginning of this year. In late 2023, it came to light that when certain LDP group factions held fundraising events and member lawmakers sold tickets in excess of their assigned quota, the portion raised in excess of their quota was given directly to the lawmaker without being reported as income.

In response to the three statements that politics “Is clean,” and that politicians “Reflect the will of the people” and are “Able to make necessary decisions in a timely manner,” a very large number of respondents – ranging from 75% to 87% of the total – replied either “Disagree” or “Somewhat disagree.” With regard to both the collection and use of political funds, more than 80% of respondents replied that “Diet members are not taking accountability” and more than 70% replied that national Diet members “Receive many privileges and special treatment,” highlighting the seriousness of the issue.

Looking forward, 64% of respondents replied that they “Will vote” when given the opportunity, while 13% replied that they “Will not vote.” Of those intending to vote, 23% replied that it is because they “Want to express their disapproval of candidates and parties that are involved in the political funds issue,” and of those not intending to vote, 28% replied that they have “Lost trust in politics in general, and are no longer interested” in voting.

With regard to the current state of politics in Japan, 54% of respondents replied that “Young people are becoming less interested in politics,” while 46% replied that “Politics is becoming less relevant to young people.” Although more detailed surveys will be needed, these numbers suggest that young people are turning their back on politics, and that they take a dim view of the current state of politics that does not reflect the will of young people.

Highlights of the 63rd Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds – Money and Politics

Impression of politics in Japan

Reflects the will of the people

  • Agree – 20.1%
  • Disagree – 79.9%

Is “clean” (fair and transparent)

  • Agree – 12.9%
  • Disagree – 87.1%

Necessary decisions can be made in a timely manner

  • Agree – 24.7%
  • Disagree – 75.3%

Impression of Japan’s national Diet

Politicians are taking accountability for how they raise political funds

  • Agree – 18.6%
  • Disagree – 81.4%

Politicians are taking accountability for how they use political funds, including expenses for political activities

  • Agree – 17.5%
  • Disagree – 82.5%

Politicians receive many privileges and special treatment

  • Agree – 71.4%
  • Disagree – 28.6%

Accountability for political funds issue

Politicians are taking accountability for how they raise political funds

  • Agree – 24.1%
  • Disagree – 73.9%

Survey Excerpts

Bar chart showing results from Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds: In response to the question, “Do you consider politics in Japan to be clean?”, among all respondents (n = 1,000), 4.4% replied “Agree,” 8.5% replied “Somewhat agree,” 31.9% replied “Somewhat disagree,” and 55.2% replied “Disagree.” Among male respondents (n = 513), 5.7% replied “Agree,” 10.3% replied “Somewhat agree,” 28.8% replied “Somewhat disagree,” and 55.2% replied “Disagree.” Among female respondents (n = 487), 3.1% replied “Agree,” 6.6% replied “Somewhat agree,” 35.1% replied “Somewhat disagree,” and 55.2% replied “Disagree.”
Politics in Japan are clean
Bar chart showing results from Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds: In response to the question, “Do you believe that lawmakers involved in the political funds issue are taking accountability for their actions?”, among all respondents who were familiar with the details of the issue (n = 307), 6.2% replied that those lawmakers “Are taking sufficient accountability,” 17.9% replied “Are taking some accountability, but not sufficiently,” 33.2% replied “Are not taking much accountability,” 40.7% replied “Are not taking accountability at all,” and 2.0% replied “Don’t know” or did not reply. Among those male respondents (n = 181), 7.7% replied “Are taking sufficient accountability,” 17.7% replied “Are taking some accountability, but not sufficiently,” 32.6% replied “Are not taking much accountability,” 40.3% replied “Are not taking accountability at all,” and 1.7% replied “Don’t know” or did not reply. Among female respondents (n = 126), 4.0% replied “Are taking sufficient accountability,” 18.3% replied “Are taking some accountability, but not sufficiently,” 34.1% replied “Are not taking much accountability,” 41.3% replied “Are not taking accountability at all,” and 2.4% replied “Don’t know” or did not reply.
Accountability of lawmakers involved in political funds issue (among respondents who were familiar with the details)
Bar chart showing results from Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds: In response to the question, “How trustworthy do you consider the information regarding the political funds issue to be?”, among all respondents (n = 1,000), with regard to the Prime Minister’s replies to questions in Diet sessions, 3.2% replied “Can be trusted,” 11.8% replied “Can be trusted to some degree,” 29.3% replied “Cannot be trusted to some degree,” 31.4% replied “Cannot be trusted,” 18.1% replied “Don’t know,” and 6.2% did not reply. With regard to involved lawmakers’ responses to media interviews, 1.9% replied “Can be trusted,” 7.3% replied “Can be trusted to some degree,” 32.4% replied “Cannot be trusted to some degree,” 36.6% replied “Cannot be trusted,” 15.9% replied “Don’t know,” and 5.9% did not reply. With regard to the explanations and inquiries of each House’s Deliberative Council on Political Ethics, 2.3% replied “Can be trusted,” 8.7% replied “Can be trusted to some degree,” 28.1% replied “Cannot be trusted to some degree,” 31.4% replied “Cannot be trusted,” 22.6% replied “Don’t know,” and 6.9% did not reply.
Trustworthiness of information regarding political funds issue (all respondents)

About the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds

Revisions to Japan’s Civil Code lowering the age of adulthood to 18 for a range of activities, including voting, took effect in April 2022, making it even more important to understand and record the awareness of the 18-year-olds who represent Japan’s next generation. With this in mind, in October 2018 The Nippon Foundation launched the Awareness Survey of 18-Year-Olds as an ongoing survey of young men and women across Japan aged around 18, to survey their values, attitudes toward politics and elections, understanding of social issues, and other current themes on an ongoing basis.

Notes:

  1. From the 13th survey, the number of respondents, comprising men and women aged 17 to 19, has been increased to 1,000 from 800.
  2. With the exception of the 20th, 46th, and 62nd installments, all surveys cover respondents in Japan only.

Contact

Global Communication Team
The Nippon Foundation

  • Email: info_global_communication@ps.nippon-foundation.or.jp

* Please include “18 Year-Old Survey” in the subject line of inquiries.