Businesses across the nation used discounts and free services to encourage 18- and 19-year-olds to use their newly granted suffrage to vote in Sunday’s House of Councilors election.
The Upper House election is the first national poll since the voting age was lowered to 18 from 20 when the revised Public Offices Election Law took effect in June.
Businesses moved quickly to seize the opportunity and make a splash.
On Sunday, Yamamuraya, a meat shop in Kyoto, was giving away free steaks to young people who cast ballots, directing its six outlets in Kyoto and Shiga prefectures to hand out 150-gram cuts of inner-shoulder beef, normally ¥780, if they presented certificates showing they voted and student identification cards.
This would be illegal in the U.S. in any election with a federal candidate on the ballot, and in some state and local elections as well under various state law.