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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 November 7 - 13  > Korean residents hold rally calling for local suffrage for permanent foreign residents
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2007 November 7 - 13 [CIVIL RIGHTS]

Korean residents hold rally calling for local suffrage for permanent foreign residents

November 8, 2007
The Korean Residents Union in Japan (Mindan) on November 7 held a rally in Tokyo calling for local suffrage for foreigners who have permanent residency status in Japan to be granted as early as possible.

About 5,000 foreigners, mostly Koreans, from across the country took part in the rally at the Hibiya Amphitheater and marched in demonstration.

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi and other political party representatives attended the rally and received petitions.

Ichida in the rally delivered the following address:

I extend greetings of solidarity to the rally participants with the determination to join forces with you so that your urgent demand, the granting of voting rights in local elections, be met at the earliest possible time.

In light of the principle of local autonomy enshrined in the Constitution, local governments must be run with the participation of all local residents in the area.

More than half of the local assemblies in Japan have already adopted resolutions calling on the Diet to take legislative measures for this end. Today, the majority of the public says, “Local suffrage for permanent foreign residents!” Your movement has produced this result.

South Korea granted permanent foreign residents local suffrage in 2005 for the first time among Asian countries, and they exercised the right in the local elections held nationwide in May. Japan must join this world trend.

At the same time, in the case of Japan, this question closely relates to its past war of aggression and colonial rule. The resolution to this question is indispensable to connect “the settlement of accounts of historical questions” with “future reconciliation and cooperation” in order to build prosperous local communities.

Since the prewar days, the Japanese Communist Party has tenaciously been fighting in opposition to wars of aggression and colonial rule at the risk of party members’ lives, hoisting the banner of popular sovereignty. As a party with such a history, the JCP is determined to continue to make utmost efforts to achieve local suffrage of permanent foreign residents.

Encouraged by the recent House of Councilors election results, the public opinion and movements opposing constitutional revision and calling for politics based on the spirit of the Constitution are rapidly increasing in Japan. I think it is very significant that this rally is held under such a political climate.

To conclude, allow me to express our determination to join forces with you both in and out of the Diet to realize the suffrage of permanent foreign residents by taking advantage of the present political conditions.
- Akahata, November 8, 2007
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