Komeito leader agrees with DPJ proposal to give NJ Permanent Residents the right to vote


Hi Blog. Do I hear the sound of a wedge being driven into the ruling LDP/Komeito coalition? Debito in Tokyo

Komeito leader welcomes Ozawa’s proposal to give foreigners voting rights
Courtesy of Stephen Vowles

Kazuo Kitagawa, secretary-general of ruling coalition partner Komeito, has voiced support for opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leader Ichiro Ozawa’s suggestion of considering submitting a bill to give foreigners with permanent residence status the right to vote in local elections.

“I would like a bill to be compiled and submitted,” Kitagawa said of the proposed move, adding that there had been arguments against it within the DPJ. “If they compiled it I would welcome that,” he said.

In a news conference on Tuesday, Ozawa said, “I’ve stressed before that the right for foreigners to vote in local elections should be granted. I’ve been criticized by long-time supporters, but the bottom line doesn’t change.”

There has been a strong tendency within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to take a cautious approach over granting foreigners with permanent residence status the right to vote in local elections. In 2005 Komeito submitted its own bill to the Diet, and the bill remains under deliberation.

Some LDP members have expressed concern over Ozawa’s comments, calling them a move to break up the ruling coalition.

5 comments on “Komeito leader agrees with DPJ proposal to give NJ Permanent Residents the right to vote

  • Minshuto to push foreign suffrage
    01/25/2008 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

    Opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) plans to submit a bill to let foreigners with permanent resident status vote in local elections, a move that could drive a wedge in the ruling coalition.

    Ethnic Koreans have long sought suffrage in Japan, and junior coalition partner New Komeito has taken up their cause.

    In the past, New Komeito has submitted bills on five separate occasions to give permanent residents the right to vote in local elections.

    But each time, the reactionary wing of the Liberal Democratic Party has risen in strong opposition and squashed Diet passage. The last bill has been carried over.

    Now, Minshuto chief Ichiro Ozawa has come out in favor of submitting a bill that would give foreigners the right to vote.

    New Komeito officials who have often bitterly criticized Minshuto proposals in the past welcomed the new idea with open arms.

    “I hope (Ozawa) can gain a consensus within his party and submit the bill,” said Kazuo Kitagawa, New Komeito secretary-general. “I would welcome such a move.”

    Knowing full well the expected opposition from elements of the LDP, Kitagawa also said, “I hope that the LDP will show understanding.”

    Ever since New Komeito entered into a coalition with the LDP, passage of a bill to give permanent resident foreigners the right to vote has been a long-standing goal.

    New Komeito now finds an unexpected ally in Minshuto. With the opposition parties in control of the Upper House, efforts have been made by Minshuto to push through legislation in that chamber to show voters it is capable of taking over the government.

    Moreover, the emergence of Yasuo Fukuda as prime minister last September had added momentum.

    Fukuda’s predecessor, Shinzo Abe, was an ardent right-winger who would never have backed any bill to give foreigners the right to vote.

    But with the more dovish Fukuda as prime minister, liberal-minded LDP members have become more prominent in their statements.

    For example, the LDP’s Yosuke Tsuruho on Wednesday in the Upper House encouraged the Fukuda Cabinet to pass legislation protecting human rights.

    In response, Fukuda said: “Protecting human rights is an important issue. The government will look seriously into the matter.”

    However, LDP right-wingers are not expected to stand idle.

    At a Tuesday meeting of LDP Diet members who consider themselves “true conservatives,” Takeo Hiranuma gave a hint of what the group would do.

    “There are moves afoot on a human rights protection bill, which was put to rest two years ago, as well as the issue of giving foreigners the right to vote in local elections,” he said. “We have to carry on the banner of conservatives.”

    Minshuto plans to set up a Diet members’ league as early as next week with Ozawa at the forefront. About 50 lawmakers are expected to join.

    On Jan. 18, Ozawa met with a special envoy of incoming South Korean President Lee Myung Bak and explained the aim of submitting the bill in the current Diet session.

    “If our party can unify on this issue, we will increase pressure on New Komeito,” Ozawa said. “In that situation, there would be nothing that the LDP could do.”

    Of course, Ozawa will have to first bring all the disparate elements of Minshuto together.(IHT/Asahi: January 25,2008)

  • Komeito? Komeito? The only thing Komeito wants is to stay attached to power by whatever parasitical manner possible! They are unable to win an election by themselves. So, seeing the tide swelling against the LDP, they know on what side their bread is buttered! They exist to only support the winning team! Mark my words, when/if there is a surge of support for the DPJ in an election campaign, the Komeito will find a reason to support them, and stay in their warm and comfy offices. If ever a country DIDN’T need a party, it’s the Komeito!

  • I don’t agree with this. Just as in the United States, only citizens should be given the right to vote in any election.


  • Well, considering that Russian citizens are likely to not be able to get the Japanese citizenship at all – my friend (a woman) is trying for more than 10 years now, she is married, with 2 children, financially independent etc.etc. but she has been made to wait and wait and it still goes on – and I’ve heard about Russian wives who have lived for 50 or more years here with a high-raniking bureaucrat as a husband, – who were unable to get the citizenship (well, this might be changing now) so the husband always had to stand forward when some formalities got too burdensome – I’d be glad to see the election debate make some progress. (Well, considering the fact that there is no peace treaty between Russia and Japan, which they have hinged onto the return of the four Northern Islands, – remember Hoppo Ryodo – maybe this nationality issue should not come as a surprise… By the way, David, maybe they were taking your for a Russian sailor back there at that Otaru Onsen? I would not be surprised!)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>