Ruling parties decide to shelve bill on local suffrage for permanent foreign residents

The three ruling parties decided to shelve a bill to grant local suffrage to permanent foreign residents in Japan, although enacting it has been a public promise of the coalition government since 1999.

As far as form is concerned, at the chair's intermediation the bill remains to be acted upon until the next parliamentary session after the House of Councilors election.

Commenting on the bill's miserable outcome, Akahata on May 31 said that it is a clear indication of the Koizumi government's refusal to answer the keen desire of permanent foreign residents.

It also criticized the Komei Party, which had been supportive of the legislation for turning its back to it in order to remain in power.

Under the Koizumi Cabinet which boasts of its high approval ratings, opposition to or calls for cautiousness about enacting the bill has suddenly gathered momentum. Nakayama Masaaki, LDP Research Commission chair on the Election System, gave a signal to the Komei Party, saying that the Komei Party won't let the coalition government be affected, even if the bill is rejected.

The Komei Party responded to the signal by saying that they won't make the bill's failure a cause for "divorce." This means that the Komei Party does not mind retracting their year-long proposal only to remain in power.

This is a clear reflection of the ambivalence on the part of the Komei Party which has no choice but to remain in the coalition government, although the party's influence has been lessened under the Koizumi government. (end)

May 30-June 5 Contents