Diet Debates Suffrage for Foreign Residents
Tuesday, October 26, 2004 Posted: 11:33 AM JST
The ruling coalition has agreed to start deliberations in the Diet on a bill to enable foreigners with permanent residence status to vote in local elections. It is an apparent attempt by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to appease junior coalition partner New Komeito.
New Komeito pushed for voting rights when it agreed to join forces with the LDP and the now-defunct Liberal Party five years ago. The LDP however is strongly against giving suffrage to long-term foreign residents. None of the bills that have been submitted in the past five years has been able to go to a vote in the Lower House.
This has now angered New Komeito politicians to a point where they want to push through a vote at all costs. "We are at the brink,'' New Komeito party leader Kanzaki recently said. This pressure appears to increase resistance among LDP members who oppose voting rights for non-Japanese, thus creating a stand-off.
Keywords: national_news suffrage
* * *