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Japan: Govt Submits Bill to Rezone Lower House Constituencies
Source: http://the-japan-news.com
Source Date: Saturday, April 13, 2013
Focus: Knowledge Management in Government
Country: Japan
Created: Apr 16, 2013

The Yomiuri Shimbun The government on Friday submitted to the House of Representatives a bill to rezone lower house electoral districts by slashing five single-seat constituencies.


The bill to revise the Public Offices Election Law was approved by the Cabinet earlier in the day. The government and ruling parties aim to pass the legislation during the current Diet session.


If the bill is voted down in the opposition-controlled House of Councillors, the ruling coalition is expected to push for it to be passed again in the lower house by at least a two-thirds vote, which would cause the bill to become law in line with the Constitution's Article 59.


Should the upper house fail to vote on a bill within 60 days after the lower house passes it, the bill can also become law if the lower chamber passes it in a second vote. As the current Diet session is scheduled to end on June 26, the ruling parties aim to pass the bill in the lower house by April 26.


The legislation was drawn up based on a rezoning proposal that the Council on the House of Representatives Electoral Districts submitted to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in March. In a review of the 42 electoral districts in Tokyo and 16 other prefectures, the proposal calls for reducing the number of single-seat constituencies in five prefectures--Yamanashi, Fukui, Tokushima, Kochi and Saga--from three to two in each. Under the plan, the number of single-seat constituencies would decrease from 300 to 295.


Based on the 2010 national census, the current vote-value disparity ratio stands at a maximum of 2.524-to-1. The envisaged rezoning would lower the ratio to 1.998-to-1, below the threshold of 2-to-1 that was previously judged acceptable by the Supreme Court. A series of high court rulings across the nation have judged the lower house election in December unconstitutional due to glaring vote-value disparities. The government and the ruling camp apparently want to enact the bill before the Supreme Court rules on the issue, which is expected to happen this autumn.

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