Ozawa positive about granting foreigners local voting rights
Sunday 20th September, 05:29 AM JST
Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa told visiting South Korean lawmaker Lee Sang Deuk on Saturday that he will try to take the issue of giving foreigners local voting rights to the regular parliamentary session next year, DPJ members said. Ozawa told Lee, elder brother of President Lee Myung Bak and head of the South Korea-Japan parliamentarians union, that he is for the idea of granting such rights to permanent residents of Japan, including South Koreans.
‘‘I want it to take form somehow during the regular Diet session,’’ Ozawa was quoted as saying, in remarks that suggest his intention to compile the opinions of DPJ members on the matter during the next ordinary session. DPJ House of Councillors member Yoshihiro Kawakami, who took part in the meeting, said he believes the DPJ-led government would submit a bill aimed at giving permanent foreign residents the right to vote in elections for local government heads and assembly members to the regular Diet session.
But the move to bring the issue to parliament may not be easy as the People’s New Party, one of two junior ruling coalition partners of the DPJ, has expressed opposition to giving such rights to foreigners, saying that could destabilize the existence of the state.