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Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012
Winner Obama sweeps youth vote at embassy
By JUN HONGO
U.S. President Barack Obama edged out Republican candidate Mitt Romney in a tight election, but it was a blowout victory for the incumbent among Japanese teens in Tokyo.
In a mock election held Wednesday at the U.S. Embassy for non-American students in Japan, Obama garnered 82 votes to just 12 for Romney.
"I voted for Obama because I feel the president hasn't made many mistakes" during his first term, Ryo Yoshida, 13, of Tokyo Metropolitan Mitaka Secondary School, told The Japan Times. "I think he will probably be able to continue doing a good job."
Wednesday's mock poll involving 94 students was organized by the embassy as an opportunity for young Japanese to learn about the U.S. electoral process. They cast their votes Wednesday afternoon as live images from the United States projected on a screen continued to update the results of the real-time election Tuesday.
"Are you fired up?" U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos asked the students as they cheered news of Obama's re-election.
"I am happy all of you are here to witness the election of the president of the United States," he said, noting it is crucial for young voters to participate in elections and become a part of the democratic process.
Chie Tomita, 15, from Tokyo's Tamagawa Academy Upper Secondary School, cast her vote for Obama. She said Japanese voters should also have the opportunity to pick their head of state through a direct popular vote. "I think it is better if the public can choose their own leader, because it would better reflect public opinion," Tomita said.
U.S. consulates across Japan also held mock polls. Similar events were held when Obama defeated Sen. John McCain in 2008.