This past summer, Japan issued in a massive change in its political system by lowering the voting age from 20 to 18, and now it may enact greater change by ending its ban on high school students engaging in political activity. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has issued its first policy change involving students engaging in politics in 46 years.
According to the draft of the proposed new guideline, student could engage in political activity outside of school, while such activity on school grounds would still be forbidden. The guideline asks teachers to refrain from expressing political opinions in class as well, and urges neutrality in education. Schools may also prohibit certain students from engaging if political activity interferes with school work or performance.
Additionally, the draft calls for educators to give students a greater understanding of election law and the political system.
The new guideline, which the education ministry will take to school boards at each of Japan’s prefectures soon, follows the legislation passed in June, in which Japan’s legislature, the Diet, voted to allow 18 and 19 yearolds to vote. The measure adds as many as 2.4 million new voters to the Japanese electorate.
The current ban on student engagement in politics begin in 1969 when student protests against world events led to more radical behavior.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.com / KPG_Payless