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Pick of the week from Japan, 28 Aug. – 1 Sep.
27 Aug. The city that allows the youth assembly performs compilation of the budget, upon their voice “Japan is in danger!”
A young man with his hair died in blond, high school girls in their school uniforms are seated in the assembly hall of a city hall. The mayor and municipal executives sitting in front of them show a serious face.
These are 25 youth “members of the City Assembly” who responded to the public invitation for the youth members of the Assembly addressed to the age from 16 to 29 years old in Shinshiro city, Aichi ken, on 22nd.
It is not unusual to see a sham assembly held in schools or even some cities as social education. In contrast, Shinshiro city let the youth assembly to decide in reality the use of the budget of the city, i.e. how to use the tax.
The sum of the budget is 10 million yen.
Sum, For the business that I name “a youth assembly” and launched from the year before last, inspection occurs successively from all over Japan. This initiative, named “the youth assembly” started two years ago. A number of visitors come to see the assembly from all over Japan.
I found the news hopeful for Japan!
The voting rate of the country has been decreasing since years, even to the level of about 30%. It has been even worrisome that the voting rate of the young generation, the 20s and 30s are lower than the elders. Many young voters felt them powerless to vote. They felt that one vote can’t change even the society. It is worrisome for the future of the country.
The original idea of the youth assembly of Shinshiro city started by an initiative of a young citizen, Shuhei Takeshita (26 years old). He was shocked to see a number of European young men and women of the same generation seriously debating political issues when he visited an assembly of the young who are from the cities whose name meant “a new castle” held on New Castle in the UK.
Shuhei never thought of policy issues as his own issues. He immediately though that it was not a matter of language barrier but a huge gap in the interests of the youth to policies of their own cities.
Returning to his city, he started organising a group to study policy issues of Shinshiro city.
It was a great story! Shuhei turned his shock in the UK to a concrete action. He involved others, instead of staying being sorry for his lack of interests in local policies in the past.
One person can’t change the society overnight, but there are always something which one can do for the change.
It is a health sign that there are young people here and there who try to improve the society through work with municipal assemblies.
- The news items referred here are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The cited titles or articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.
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