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Japan: Govt to OK Electoral Reform Bill
Source: the-japan-news.com
Source Date: Saturday, March 30, 2013
Focus: Knowledge Management in Government
Country: Japan
Created: Apr 02, 2013

The government has decided to approve a bill to revise the Public Offices Election Law at a Cabinet meeting scheduled for April 12 and submit it to the Diet, government sources said Friday.

The Council on the House of Representatives Electoral Districts on Thursday compiled a proposal on rezoning lower house electoral districts and recommended it to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.


The government intends the pass the bill at the House of Representatives in late April.


According to the plan, 42 of 300 single-seat constituencies in Tokyo and 16 other prefectures will be rezoned. By doing so, the vote-value disparity ratio--which currently stands at a maximum of 2.524--will be reduced to 1.998. The Supreme Court previously judged an acceptable ratio to be less than 2.


This is the second time rezoning single-seat constituencies has been recommended since 2001 after the current system, which combines single-seat constituencies with the proportional representation formula, was introduced in 1994.


The council's proposal is based on the electoral system reform law enacted last November. Under the proposal, the number of single-seat constituencies in Yamanashi, Fukui, Tokushima, Kochi and Saga prefectures will be cut from three to two. No new single-seat constituencies will be created.


In Tottori Prefecture, the nation's least populous prefecture, two constituencies will be rezoned. The new Tottori Constituency No. 2 will be the least populous with 291,103 residents. Nine constituencies with smaller populations in eight prefectures will be rezoned, as will four constituencies with populations more than twice that of the new Tottori constituency in three prefectures.


The council has set three rezoning standards: a vote-value disparity ratio of less than 2.0, no creation of enclaves and no separation within administrative areas such as cities, wards and towns.


Party discussions on election system reform began after a Supreme Court ruling in March 2011 that stated the vote-value disparity in the 2009 lower house election was in a "state of unconstitutionality."

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