Young people in Japan are far less likely to vote than their elders. During the past four general elections, less than 40% of 20-somethings cast ballots—a stark contrast with the over-60% turnout rate of those in their 50s. Momoko Nojo is on a mission to change that. The 24-year-old activist and Keio University graduate student founded No Youth No Japan in the hopes of encouraging her generation to go to the polls. The nonprofit—which distributes voter information across social platforms, among other efforts—has made Nojo one of Japan’s most widely cited advocates for youth political participation. Last year, she leveraged that profile to ignite an online campaign to hold the powerful Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori accountable for sexist remarks, fueling public outrage that eventually led to his resignation—and making Nojo even more visible. For Nojo, the pursuit of gender equality and civic engagement are inextricably linked—as demonstrated by her September launch of Fiftys Project, a campaign aimed at supporting female and gender-minority candidates under the age of 40 in Japan’s 2023 unified local elections.
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