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Japan: Diet Gets Referendum Revision Bill
Source: the-japan-news.com
Source Date: Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Knowledge Management in Government, Citizen Engagement, Institution and HR Management, Internet Governance
Country: Japan
Created: Apr 15, 2014

The Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and five opposition parties, including the Democratic Party of Japan, jointly submitted to the House of Representatives on Tuesday a bill to revise the National Referendum Law, which stipulates procedures for amending the Constitution.


The New Renaissance Party, which could not participate in the submission of the bill because it does not have a seat in the lower house, will support the bill during House of Councillors deliberations.


It appears certain the Diet will approve the bill during the current session. The revised National Referendum Law will come into force when it is promulgated, setting the stage for amending the Constitution.


The main focus of the bill is to set the voting age for national referendums at “20 or over” for the time being and lower it to “18 or over” four years after the revised law takes effect.


The eight ruling and opposition parties have already agreed to set up a project team to lower the minimum voting age stipulated under the Public Offices Election Law. The parties aim to lower the minimum voting age within two years.


If the ruling and opposition parties reach an agreement, they will again submit to the Diet a bill to revise the National Referendum Law to lower the minimum voting age earlier than scheduled.


However, there may be many twists and turns in discussions between the ruling and opposition parties on the matter because some parties including the DPJ supports lowering the minimum voting age while some LDP members are cautious. A young LDP member said, “I’m wondering if it is appropriate to entrust voting to people aged 18.”

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