New Japanese “Party of Hope” remains unhopeful for Japan’s NJ residents, requiring new party entrants to deny all NJ voting rights


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Hi Blog. In case you haven’t heard, the center-left (and former governing party) Democratic Party of Japan (once Minshuutou, now Minshintou), has suffered a further blow to its existence, now having to sell its factional soul to a new party (Kibou no Tou, or the “Party of Hope”) headed by a name-brand candidate and Governor of Tokyo (Koike Yuriko). Koike is ostensibly just about as far-right as PM Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party. As proof of that:  In the JT article below, KnoT is demanding as a litmus test that new party entrants from the DPJ sign on to a party platform denying NJ residents (including Permanent Residents) the right to vote in any elections.

Given that PR in Japan, a legal status that is reasonably hard to achieve (and specific to Japan when it comes to its “Special Permanent Residents” (tokubetsu eijuusha), i.e., the Zainichi Koreans and Chinese “generational foreigners” and descendants of former citizens of empire), requires significant time and commitment to Japan, this is yet another slap in the face to people who stay (in many cases their entire lives), pay taxes, and contribute to society the same as any other citizen. The alarmism that KnoT in the article below displays is straight out of the LDP handbook — arguing that giving foreigners any power would mean they would turn against Japan, even secede — which is nothing short of distrust of foreigners’ very existence in society. Or xenophobia, for short.  (One LDP poster even compared NJ suffrage to an alien invasion — complete with a UFO!)

In sum, voters have a choice between two viable parties now, both rightist with essentially the same platform, except that one is PM Abe and one is Rewarmed Abe, for those who don’t like the man and would prefer a shiny new woman. Sigh. Meanwhile, Japan’s tolerant left will remain in disarray for the foreseeable future. Dr. Debito Arudou

PS:  And just in case you were wondering, “Don’t all countries require citizenship in order to vote?”, here’s an article that says not always:  in fact, it says one in every four democracies has some kind of foreign suffrage.


Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike defends her party’s policy of not granting foreign residents in Japan the right to vote
THE JAPAN TIMES, OCT 6, 2017, Courtesy of TJL
Courtesy of

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike on Friday defended her recently launched party’s policy of denying foreign residents in Japan the right to vote or run in local elections, stating that such measures are necessary to protect the national interest.

Controversy over the policy was stirred when her nascent party, Kibo no To (Party of Hope), required new members switching from the disintegrating opposition Democratic Party to confirm their agreement to the policy of denying non-Japanese local suffrage before being allowed to join the new party.

In an official list of campaign pledges unveiled Friday the party skirted the issue, but Koike didn’t rule out the later incorporation of denying suffrage to foreign nationals.

“If we give foreign residents the right to vote and run in local elections, we need to consider what may happen in those small, thinly populated islands, where people with a certain motive may be able to wield significant power,” Koike told a news conference in Tokyo.

“We need to approach the issue from the perspective of how to protect our nation,” she said…

Rest of the article at

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18 comments on “New Japanese “Party of Hope” remains unhopeful for Japan’s NJ residents, requiring new party entrants to deny all NJ voting rights

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    As always, the same paranoia of a fascist state;
    Legal NJ residents of an isolated island will decide democratically that they don’t want the island to be a part of Japan anymore. Wouldn’t be possible if the Japanese themselves wanted to live there, would it? It’s a kind of ‘we don’t want it, but you can’t have it either’ mentality.
    Of course, the whole issue is farcical, and serves merely as an acceptable way to signpost right wing racist beliefs to the electorate.
    Although, being honest, given Japan’s economic and demographic black hole, perhaps there are many outlying areas that could reasonably be expected to ask foreign nations to annex them in the near future!

    And as far as this election goes, you can have Abe’s LDP or Koike’s ‘LDP’, both of which share the goal of constitutional reform and have agreed to work together on this. It’s merely a bait and switch to make Komeito unnecessary as an LDP coalition member (since they haven’t been enthusiastic about constitutional reform).
    The man who lied to our faces and said ‘there is no meltdown at Fukushima’ at precisely the time there was a triple meltdown, leads the only party that represents any opposition policies. And the media is ignoring them.
    Not much of a choice.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    While I’m on the subject, remember Sugano, the guy who wrote the expose on Nippon Kaigi? Well, it looks like Twitter Japan used a right wingers claim of anti-Japanese ‘hate-speech’ against him to permanently shut down his twitter account! How 1984 is that?!?

    I always said that hate-speech laws would be used to silence those who spoke out against the Japanese right wing.

  • Soon as I saw that statement by Koike which was clearly intended for her far right side, I thought to myself, “Yeah well, fuck you too lady. See how much that motivates my investment into your country further…”

    Even more important is the context of the lack of double citizenship and alienation of the minority groups even further.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Interestingly, Edano’s new liberal party has more Twitter followers than the LDP, whereas Koike’s party has less than the JCP, and yet both Japanese and international news media is hyping up Koike’s party as ‘the opposition’ choice, despite her party being;
    A) virtually as right wing as the LDP and willing to form a coalition with them, and,
    B) apparently less popular than Edano’s left-leaning party.

    I honestly believe that this is a move to force the Komeito out of the ruling coalition, by presenting the masses with false choices.

  • Yet another reason not to bother with PR or citizenship in Japan. The “benefits” are not commensurate with time, effort or personal sacrifice (i.e. pension contributions and a real career elsewhere).

    PR is just another “imi ga nai” label; it merely confirms you have been resident in Japan a long time, for visa renewal purposes. some may argue it makes you more “trustworthy” of bank loans etc, but in fact if you had been in Japan for ten years and in stable employment and or married, Its probably the same as that bit of paper.

    We are just a cashcow, We have no voice.

    “well, if you dont like it, why dont you leave?”
    Oh, OK then. I ll take my money and skills elsewhere! So long, and thanks for all the Sushi.

    • PR is much better than a visa just for not having to go to the immigration office to renew ever again 🙂

      It does also seem to make it easier to get loans, etc.

      Also about as much work to apply for PR as to renew a visa, so as soon as someone is eligible, why not do it?

      Very happy PR since 2008.

      • Baudrillard says:

        @Sendaiben if PR then I have to report overseas income to them. Secondly, I am making a stand;the starry eyed newbie staff at immigration pointed out to me enthusiastically that I could now get PR (and save them work), but my stoic, unsmiling lack of interest took them aback and perhaps got them thinking as to why this long term NJ isnt that keen in getting PR at all.

        PR might imply I have some “loyalty” to the Japanese Empire in, for example, a Fukushima meltdown. PR implies buying into a belief system.

        Nah, I just work here and am underpaid. I could and I can leave anytime. And didnt someone say, “if you dont like it here, stop complaining and go back to your own country (even if I have J-PR).

        I wasnt always this cynical. Japanese issues with NJs made me so.

        So you can stuff your “PR” and keep on doing the work of processing my work visa. Just remember, I can do a flyjin anytime I want.

        • I never bothered with PR. What’s the point? It’s mainly a device to save immigration officials some paperwork, BUT it’s presented as having some ‘special’ value and weight (which it doesn’t since it confers no rights to the holder, and doesn’t prevent discrimination) that negates the need for Japan to have a real immigration policy.
          It’s all smoke and mirrors, designed to fool naive NJ, like the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. NJ buy into these things expecting to get access, but are lucky if they are thrown some crumbs.
          It’s a scam. Don’t lend it your weight by endorsing it. Reject it.
          Remember, the Japanese believe that literally millions of NJ are waiting to arrive on Japan’s shores, the world’s rich and skilled want to come here, and yet, their own schemes to grant restricted access to ‘elite gaijin’ failed to attract even 3% of target applicants and was shut down with no review, or evaluation because doing so would require challenging they underlying premise; millions of NJ want to come to Japan. And admitting that the basic premise is incorrect would be an unrecoverable blow to Japanese self-identity.
          After all, how many times have we seen in survey results and wide-show street interviews Japanese people saying that even seeing a few NJ makes them feel that they are ‘not in Japan’ or feel ‘less Japanese’? Japanese self-identity is really that fragile.

        • Hi B. that is a common error: PR the status of residence and permanently resident for tax purposes are not the same.

          You become permanently resident for tax purposes after five years in Japan and have to declare overseas income from then.

          It’s a really unhelpful use of almost identical English to describe two different things.

          So it shouldn’t put anyone off applying for PR: they will owe the taxes anyway 😉

          • Baudrillard says:

            OK, but there still the need for a reentry visa with PR! “That’s just a crock,, Basically makes it a non permo. ” As one blogger commented. Just a way to get money out of us with PR.
            There used to be an alleged advantage that you could then qualify for a pension at age 45 with PR (25 years after 20 years of age) but that is surely moot now they lowered it to ten years needed to get a pension.

  • It is remarkable how little the lawmakers here know about the law. Even if a “small island” (what small island is she thinking of???????) wanted to secede they can’t do it just by voting to do it. The army (SDF) would come in and crush them. Idiots.

    • Andrew in Saitama says:

      Playing on the ignorance and fears of people who don’t understand how Japan’s version of democracy works.
      “B-b-but, if you give a small proportion of a small proportion of the population limited voting rights, they will be able to vote for things that are not up for the vote.”

      Not to mention deliberately confusing limited voting rights (i.e. for local elections only) with the freedom to run for office.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    No parties would receive my endorsement whatsoever. I have been very skeptical of Yuriko Koike since July for her party strict control of information and gag order thrusted upon elected candidates and staff. Indeed, some of those seceded from the party due to the party’s overbearing power.

  • It’s ironic, if you think about it, because by not allowing these groups to vote she is fulfilling the first step of the United Nations recognition of a right to secede.

    Under UN law, any non-self-governing territory has legal right for independence. Non-self-governing means not represented in central government, which they are not, if they can’t vote. Japan loves to shoot itself in the foot.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Re: Pensions,

    Japan is still run by the same crowd of recidivist right-wing anti-human rights reactionaries as it always has been, and the nation remains equally as convinced as ever that NJ don’t deserve human rights in Japan, so why on earth would they do something as altruistic as giving NJ something like a good deal on a pension?
    I put it to you my brother, that the J-Gov is merely attempting a last minute scraping of the revenue barrel because they fully expect Japan to default on its national debt crisis before any NJ buying into a ten year pension will ever get any payments back.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Ha ha! Japanese ‘democracy’ is still a joke!
    With just over 50% of eligible voters voting, LDP got around 33% of votes cast (almost 15% of all eligible voters) yet steals around 60% of Diet Lower House seats!

    This is what happens when you give one party 70 years to write election laws that benefit itself. No wonder Abe gets on so well with Robert Mugabe.


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