Hi Blog. Here’s some very good news. Somebody at least is recognizing the reality that you can’t keep people who live here permanently for generations permanently disenfranchised from the democratic process. One more reason to support the DPJ (or the New Komeito, depending on your politics–hopefully enticing it out of its Faustian deal with the devil just to share power with the LDP).
Wouldn’t it be interesting if in the end what made the LDP finally fall from power was issues of immigration and assimilation? Arudou Debito in Sapporo
DPJ lawmakers to push foreigner suffrage bill
The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 7, 2008
Courtesy of Chris Gunson
Lawmakers in the Democratic Party of Japan are stepping up efforts to resubmit a bill that would grant permanent foreign residents the right to vote in local elections, according to sources.
With New Komeito also strongly demanding local suffrage for permanent foreign residents, DPJ lawmakers hope in the upcoming Diet session “to split the ruling camp by submitting the bill to the House of Councillors and call on New Komeito to endorse it,” according to one of the sources.
But some conservative lawmakers in the party are determined to block the resubmission.
“Looking at this constitutionally and from the state of the nation, there’s no way we can approve this,” one party conservative said.
The DPJ previously submitted the bill to the House of Representatives on two occasions–in 1998 and 2002–but it was scrapped after failing to pass both times.
New Komeito also submitted to the lower house in 2005 a bill for granting permanent foreign residents voting rights in local elections, and discussions have spilled over into the current Diet session.
The passing of any bill of this nature has been stopped in its tracks mostly due to deep-rooted resistance mainly in the Liberal Democratic Party.
Yoshihiro Kawakami, a DPJ upper house member, plans to call on supporters in the party and establish a league of Diet members aimed at resubmitting the DPJ’s bill.
In the new bill, a “principle of reciprocity” will be introduced, in which local voting rights would only be granted to permanent residents who hold the nationality of a country that allows foreigners to vote in elections.
“New Komeito’s proposed bill has for sometime contained the principle of reciprocity, and so New Komeito won’t be able to oppose the DPJ’s bill,” Kawakami said.
Kawakami and his supporters hope to gain approval from the party leadership and submit the bill for prior consideration by the upper house. (Jan. 7, 2008)