View Full Version : Japanese living abroad to re-obtain voting rights

Sep 16, 2005, 11:50
Japan Times : Supreme Court rules that expats' right to vote violated (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20050915a1.htm)

A provision of the Public Offices Election Law that keeps Japanese citizens living abroad from voting for individual candidates in Diet elections is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

Under the law revised in 1998, eligible voters living overseas are allowed to vote under the proportional representation segment of national elections but cannot cast ballots for specific candidates in single-seat districts.

Before the revision, they were not allowed to vote at all in Diet elections.

Deeming the election law unconstitutional in both its original and revised forms, the ruling by the Grand Bench of the top court guarantees voters abroad the right to vote in districts elections starting with the next one.
Kazuyoshi Kitaoka, 63, expressed joy over the decision, saying, "We believe that because of this ruling, democracy in Japan has taken a big step forward.

"We are Japanese and we will be Japanese till the day we die, praying for the development of our mother country," the L.A. resident of over 25 years said. "True, it may just be one vote, but our passionate feelings (toward Japan) drives us to want to cast that single vote."
It is estimated there are more than 720,000 eligible voters living abroad, more than three times the number in the Tokushima No. 1 single-seat district.

This could have a decisive effect on the next Diet election next year (House of Councilors). If the LDP does not get a majority there, they will not be able to rule the country on their own (without the Komeito) as they wish.

All the Japanese I talked to about the results of last weekend's election said they were disappointed that the LDP got a 2/3 majority (even if they voted for the LDP !), because it has now become too powerful, breaks the balance with the DPJ, and has become a threat to democracy. It is not just about postal privatization, but about rewriting the constitution and thus enabling the LDP to get rid of the article that prevents Japan to wage war and have an army. This will not improve relations with Japan's neighbours.

Sep 17, 2005, 12:09
They'd never dare try and push through the re-written constitution. It'd be like the LDP signing its own death warrant. Over the past 60 years, the concept of Japan being a peaceful, non-aggressive country has become a fundamental part of what it is to be a modern Japanese person.