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  • DPJ backs down from suffrage bill for NJ Permanent Residents, as “postponement”. Hah.

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on March 4th, 2010

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    Hi Blog.  Now here’s a disappointment.  Looks like the DPJ caved in with all the pressure (and outright xenophobia and nastiness) from the opposition regarding local suffrage for NJ PRs.  Admittedly, the DPJ didn’t do much of a job justifying the bill to the public.  And where were people like DPJ Dietmember Tsurunen going to bat for the policy, for Pete’s sake?  Disappointing.  Not just because of course Debito.org is in support of the measure (reasons why here), but also because it’s one more clear failure in the DPJ’s Manifesto.  First the “temporary gas tax” backpedal, now this.  It’s making the DPJ look like they can’t reform things after all.  Sad.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo.

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    DPJ postpones bill to grant local voting rights to permanent foreign residents
    (Mainichi Japan) February 27, 2010
    , Courtesy lots of people
    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20100227p2a00m0na009000c.html

    The government has abandoned proposing a bill to grant local voting rights to permanent foreign residents in Japan during the current Diet session, in the face of intense opposition from coalition partner People’s New Party (PNP).

    “It’s extremely difficult for the government to sponsor such a bill due to differences over the issue between the ruling coalition partners,” said Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi.

    Now, the attention is focused on whether ruling and opposition parties will launch a campaign to pass the bill as legislator-initiated legislation.

    The suffrage bill was expected to be based on a draft that the DPJ prepared before it took over the reins of government, and it proposes to grant local suffrage to foreign residents from countries with which Japan has diplomatic ties. The DPJ’s proposal will cover some 420,000 Korean and other special permanent residents — both those who arrived in Japan before World War II and their offspring — as well as about 490,000 foreign residents from other countries.

    The campaign to enact legislation on foreign suffrage in local elections dates back to 15 years ago.

    Encouraged by the 1995 Supreme Court ruling that “foreign suffrage is not banned by the Constitution,” over 1,500 local assemblies adopted a resolution to support and promote legislation to grant local suffrage to permanent foreign residents in Japan — some 910,000 people as of the end of 2008.

    However, as the passage of the bill becomes a real possibility along with the change of government, various views have emerged.

    The National Association of Chairpersons of Prefectural Assemblies held an interparty discussion meeting on local suffrage for permanent foreign residents on Feb. 9 in Tokyo.

    “It’s not the time for national isolation,” said Azuma Konno, a House of Councillors member of the DPJ, as he explained the party’s policy on the legislation at the meeting, raising massive jeers and objections from participants.

    “We can introduce legislation which will make it easier for foreigners to be naturalized,” said Kazuyoshi Hatakeyama, speaker of the Miyagi Prefectural Assembly, while Kochi Prefectural Assembly Vice Speaker Eiji Morita countered, saying: “The DPJ excluded the suffrage bill from its manifesto for last summer’s election.”

    The Mie Prefectural Assembly, in which DPJ members form the largest political group, was the only chapter to support the granting of local suffrage to permanent foreign residents.

    “The argument against suffrage rings of ethnic nationalism,” said Speaker Tetsuo Mitani.

    The fact that the DPJ’s legislation plan met with strong opposition during the meeting highlighted the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)’s strong sway over local assemblies, where its members manage to remain as the largest political group.

    Opponents of the bill argue that it is unreasonable for the central government to make decisions on regional electoral systems while pledging to promote decentralization of authority. Furthermore, the national association of chairpersons adopted a special resolution calling on the government to focus more on the opinions of local assemblies on Jan. 21.

    During the LDP Policy Research Council’s national meeting on Feb. 10, LDP lawmakers instructed its prefectural chapters to promote resolutions opposing foreign suffrage at respective local assemblies, in a bid to undermine the Hatoyama administration and the DPJ in cooperation with regional politics.

    According to the chairpersons’ association, before the change of government last summer, a total of 34 prefectures supported the granting of local suffrage to foreign residents; however, eight reversed their positions after the DPJ came into power. The trend is expected to accelerate further, pointing to antagonism between the nation’s two largest political parties, as well as the conflicts between the DPJ-led national government and local governments.

    Meanwhile, the recent political confrontation has raised concerns in the Korean Residents Union in Japan (Mindan), which seeks realization of the suffrage bill.

    The Chiba Prefectural Assembly, which adopted the resolution supporting foreign suffrage in 1999, reversed its position in December last year.

    “We cannot believe they overturned their own decision,” said an official at Mindan’s Chiba Prefecture branch. The branch, which has a close relationship with LDP lawmakers, had owed the prefecture’s previous decision to support the suffrage bill to the efforts of LDP members in the prefectural assembly.

    The Ibaraki Prefectural Assembly, too, is one of the eight local assemblies that went from for to against suffrage. Mindan’s Ibaraki branch has also expressed its disappointment, saying: “Assembly members are using the issue as part of their campaign strategy for the coming election.”

    According to the National Diet Library, foreign residents are granted local suffrage in most major developed countries.

    The PNP has also declared strong objection to the bill, saying “It could stimulate ethnic sentiment in the wrong way.”

    PNP leader and Minister of State for Financial Services Shizuka Kamei stressed his strong opposition against the measure, saying his party would not allow the enactment of the suffrage bill.

    Moreover, the DPJ itself seems to be split over the issue. Although the foreign suffrage bill is an “important bill” that DPJ Secretary-General Ichiro Ozawa has been promoting, a forceful submission of the bill could cause a rift within the party, and the discussion over the matter has stalled.

    “Considering the future relationship between Japan and South Korea, we should clarify the government’s policy,” said Ozawa, who showed strong enthusiasm for the realization of the suffrage bill during his meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Seoul last December. Hatoyama agreed.

    Ozawa apparently aims to pass the bill before this summer’s House of Councillors election in a bit to win Mindan’s support for the DPJ.

    DPJ executives had agreed to submit the proposal as a Cabinet bill, not as a lawmaker-initiated legislation, during a meeting on Jan. 11.

    However, Cabinet members were slow to react to Ozawa’s move, with Haraguchi insisting the legislation be led by lawmakers, saying: “The legislation is related to the foundations of democracy, and it’s questionable whether the Cabinet should take the initiative in this.” One DPJ senior member said: “If we promote the bill forcibly, it will cause a split in the party.”

    “Consensus within the ruling coalition is a minimum requirement for realizing the legislation. It’s not an easy task,” said Hatoyama on Saturday.

    After all, the government was forced to abandon submitting a foreign suffrage bill to the ongoing Diet session.

    (Mainichi Japan) February 27, 2010
    ENDS

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    外国人地方選挙権:法案先送り 反対の国民新に配慮--政府方針
    毎日新聞 2010年2月27日 東京朝刊
    http://mainichi.jp/select/seiji/news/20100227ddm001010015000c.html

    政府は26日、永住外国人に地方選挙権を付与する法案について、政府提案による今通常国会への提出を見送る方針を固めた。連立を組む国民新党が反対しており、原口一博総務相は同日の閣議後の記者会見で、「連立与党内で立場が異なり、政府提案はなかなか難しい」と表明。与野党内で議員立法の動きが広まるかが焦点となる。

    地方選挙権法案を巡っては、民主党の小沢一郎幹事長の意向を踏まえ、同党が昨年末、政府に検討を要請。鳩山由紀夫首相も同調していたが、平野博文官房長官は26日の記者会見で「連立(与党)の合意を取らなければ、政府から提出するのは大変厳しかろう」と述べ、政府提案は困難との見通しを示した。

    国民新党は「選挙権を付与すると、日本人との間で民族間の対立を招きかねない」などとして、法案提出に反対姿勢を崩していない。原口氏は26日の記者会見で「総務省内で議論の整理をしたが、民主主義の基本にかかわる。国会の場でしっかりご議論いただくことが大事だ」と述べ、議員立法で検討すべきだとの考えを示した。【横田愛、石川貴教】
    ends

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    国民新:「保守」強調 夫婦別姓、外国人選挙権に「反対」
    毎日新聞 2010年2月25日
    http://mainichi.jp/select/seiji/news/20100226k0000m010041000c.html

    参院選に向け、国民新党が新たな看板作りに腐心している。衆参合計で9議席と与党最少の同党の存亡に直結するためだ。参院選ポスターの原案では、党是の「郵政改革」に加えて「外国人参政権(選挙権)反対」「夫婦別姓反対」を明記した。民主、自民両党に不満を持つ保守層を意識してた旗印を掲げ、活路を見いだす方針だ。

    国民新党の亀井静香代表が24日の定例会見でポスター案を公表した。永住外国人への地方選挙権付与法案と、選択的夫婦別姓導入の民法改正案への反対を繰り返し明言する亀井氏は、会見でも「うちが反対する限り絶対日の目を見ない。そういう(与党内の)力学なんだ」と胸を張った。

    昨年の衆院選で代表と幹事長が落選した同党の危機感は強い。党幹部は「今回、改選3議席を減らせば党は終わりだ」と悲壮感を漂わせる。だが民主党との選挙協力は進まず、国民新党側には「衆院選では幹部同士で協議したのに今回はまだない」との不満が漏れる。

    同党の支持基盤は郵便局長を中心に全国に薄く広く存在するのが特徴で、選挙区での新候補者擁立は困難なのが実情だ。地盤を持つ富山や島根でも民主党の候補者擁立の動きが先行する。亀井氏は24日の会見で「国民新党の協力なくして勝てると思ってるからおやりになってるんじゃないか」と不快感を示した。連立政権内での発言権確保を視野に、参院選に向けて今後、神経戦は深まりそうだ。【朝日弘行】

    ends

    9 Responses to “DPJ backs down from suffrage bill for NJ Permanent Residents, as “postponement”. Hah.”

    1. Joe Jones Says:

      Kamei the Hutt at work. I will dance a happy dance when he is gone.

    2. jjobseeker Says:

      “Kamei the Hutt”

      That is great. Permanent moniker for him from now on in my home!
      He’s just another crusty old man who needs to go; he may be in a new party, but his heart and soul is still LDP for sure.

    3. japanguy Says:

      As if they would make naturalizing easier anytime soon!

    4. holmes Says:

      Very disappointing. I m definitely not going to pay my city tax on time now, and I m going to get non Japanese halth insurance.

      No taxation without representation.

    5. Norik Says:

      BTW, did you hear yesterday what Toru Hashimoto said about Chosen schools? That since North Korea and yakuza are one, Chosen schools which are involved with North Korea are also connected with boryoku-dan(yakuza)(!?)
      Maybe the guys from PNP are afraid to allow involvement of pro-North Korean and Chinese organizations in the political life of Japan?Who knows…

      – I saw it too on the TV news. But give us a link anyway, please.

    6. holmes Says:

      why oh why is the DPJ in alliance with Kamei and the New People’s Party? Its a tiny far right party; once again this group of people is dictating national policy to the Japanese.They make Koizumi look liberal.
      From Wikipedia:
      “Most of the members of the Kokumin Shinto were formerly members of the Shisuikai (also known as Kamei Faction) of the LDP. Their strong links to the postal lobby forced them to go against Koizumi’s plans to privatise the postal system.

      It gets better:
      “In June 2007, party head Shizuka Kamei announced that Alberto Fujimori would be running for a seat in the House of Councillors under the banner of the People’s New Party. At the time of the initial announcement, Fujimori was under house arrest in Chile pending the outcome of an extradition hearing to decide whether he would be returned to Peru to face charges of corruption and human rights violations there.”

      If the price of deposing the LDP is to have these neo-Nazis in the government, I d say its time for a new election.

    7. Norik Says:

      Here you are. Only the article is in Japanese:
      http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0303/OSK201003030097.html

      「北朝鮮と暴力団は基本的に一緒」助成問題語る橋下知事
      朝日新聞 2010年3月3日18時18分

       高校無償化制度で朝鮮学校の生徒を除外すべきだという意見が出ている問題で、大阪府の橋下徹知事は3日、大阪朝鮮高級学校(同府東大阪市)を近く現地視察する考えを示した。同校の実態を確認したうえで、4月からの府独自の授業料助成の対象とするかどうかを決める意向だ。

       橋下知事は視察について、報道陣に「権力者が授業内容を評価しちゃいけない。そういう視点ではなく、拉致問題を引き起こした北朝鮮と学校の関係性を見る」と話した。また、「北朝鮮という国と暴力団は基本的には一緒。暴力団とお付き合いのある学校に助成がいくのがいいのか」とも語った。

       府人権室によると、橋下知事は就任直後の2008年5月、在日本朝鮮人総連合会(朝鮮総連)大阪府本部の幹部の訪問を受け、府内の朝鮮学校の視察を求められたが断っていた。知事が府本部幹部に「拉致問題の解決に向けて、大阪府と共同のメッセージを本国に発してほしい」という趣旨の要請をしたところ、府本部側から否定的な回答があったためという。
      ends

    8. Chris Says:

      Regarding N. Korea and Yakuza,
      Mitsuhiro Suganuma, formerly of the Japan’s Public Security Investigation Agency, mentioned to the foreign correspondents club in 2006 that 30% of the Yakuza is Korean.
      (google “Mitsuhiro Suganuma” for many quotes of that speech)
      This is probably where Governor Hashimoto is getting his information on the connection.
      I guess this is kinda off topic, though….

    9. Astrix Says:

      Here is an interesting article from the Washington Post regarding Japans attitude towards immigration.

      Even as population shrinks, Japan remains wary of immigration

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/12/AR2010031201790.html

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