Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking during a Diet committee session, gave his word that he will address the discrepancy in the weight of votes in the country’s electoral system. This, after several courts have recently called the general elections last December as unconstitutional or invalid because of said disparity. He said that his administration will try to resolve the problem as soon as possible, and that he is taking the courts’ rulings seriously.
A parliament panel submitted to Abe a recommendation on how to rectify the vote-value gap between the least and most populous constituencies—that is, to reduce the number of electoral districts for the House of Representatives. The panel wants to remove the five single-seat constituencies in Fukui, Yamanashi, Tokushima, Kochi and Saga prefectures, at the same time making zoning adjustments in others. During the December 16 elections, it was found that the value of a person’s vote in the constituency having the smallest number of eligible votes was 2.43 times bigger than the value of a person’s vote in the district with the biggest number.
The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), however, is not impressed and sees Abe’s resolve to be insufficient. It made a counter proposal wherein of the 480 seats in the lower house, 30 in single constituencies and 50 under proportional representation should be lessened. The DPJ plans to submit a bill to parliament, having those proposals, as soon as it obtains the support of other opposition parties.
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