DPJ weighs voting rights for all permanent residents

The DPJ lawmakers in favor of alien suffrage held seminars almost every other week until the end of March, inviting guest speakers on both sides of the issue to clarify their ideas.

In early April, the group declared that voting rights should be given to all permanent residents who come from countries with which Japan has official diplomatic ties, thus excluding North Koreans.

Under the envisaged bill, permanent residents who wish to vote would be granted the right upon application.

“Japan is increasingly depopulated, and it’s important to get foreign residents to join together in the process of developing local communities. But to encourage their sense of being an interested group themselves, it’s necessary to give them their rights and duties,” said Shinkun Haku, an Upper House lawmaker and member of the group. “This in the end will benefit Japan.”