高2 小松梨那子さん 英語スピーチで日本一に 2018.2.14
スピーチのタイトルは、「あなたの声を聞かせよう（Make Your Voice Heard）」。国政に変化を起こしたければ、私たち若者は与えられた18歳選挙権行使することが大切だ、と訴えました。自然体でいながら、明瞭で力強いスピーチは、多くの著名な審査員に絶賛されました。
外部リンク： The Japan News (Yomiuri Shinbun)掲載記事
Make Your Voice Heard
In 2016, something amazing happened in Japan. 18 and 19-yr-olds were given the right to vote! This year, I will be able to join you adults and exercise my democratic right! To make my voice heard! But…wait…will I vote? And if I do, will my little vote make any difference?
Until last year, I really wasn’t interested in politics at all. I’ve heard so many times that there is nothing normal people like us can do to make any difference... and so we don’t vote. But what about the new young voters? I looked at the data from the elections in 2016; the first chance for them to vote… and… 18-yr-olds: 51%, 19-yr-olds: 40%… Why is the voting rate so low?
I needed more answers, so I decided to ask a real politician last summer. I arranged a meeting with Mr Kuwana. He is a representative for Kochi in the prefectural assembly. My question was simple: Why didn’t young people vote, and what is the point in voting anyway? Well what he told me totally changed my view of my little vote.
First he told me about the silver cycle. Sounds mysterious? Well actually for us young people, it is really dangerous. In Japan, one age group votes in huge numbers: The over 60s. In 2016, 75% of them voted. Overall they made up 40% of the votes. 40%. That’s almost half of all voters. Now that gives them the power to influence the politicians. Policies are designed to favor the silver generation… in order to get votes… in order to get elected… and so the cycle goes on. The only way to break the silver cycle, according to Mr Kuwana, is to get out there and vote. He wants to listen to young people’s opinions, but we need to show, by voting in large numbers, that young people, too, have influence.
OK, we should get out and vote. But then everything happens in Tokyo, right? Nothing really changes for us… Well that is not actually true. You may feel our one vote is so small, and on a national scale, yes, I suppose it is, but Mr Kuwana showed me some data from local elections. In many areas of Japan, the results were very close! For example, in Hokkaido, some areas were decided by one vote. And in one area of Saitama the vote count was actually even! Your one vote can make a difference, so find out about your local candidates and make a choice! We can make changes: from village to town, town to city, and city to country. They are all connected.
I was beginning to be persuaded. Maybe my vote can make a difference. But… when it comes to the day when I finally get to vote, maybe I’ll have a date, or a piece of homework to hand in. Maybe I just won’t bother. That’s what millions of young British people and Americans said in 2016, and look what happened. Huge political changes. But who made those changes? Well actually not the young people. Less than half of under 20s voted, but many, many more were upset with the outcome. If only they had taken action. Things could have been very different. Don’t let the same thing happen to you.
We can make a difference if we want to. So when you turn 18, exercise your new right! Break the silver cycle, act locally to change what happens nationally; and remember the potential consequences if you don’t vote. So get out there and make your voice heard!