Foreign residents' voting in referendums rejected

NHK -- Dec 21
Tokyo's Musashino City Assembly has voted down a draft ordinance that would have effectively allowed the city's foreign residents to vote in referendums under the same conditions as their Japanese neighbors.

Mayor Matsushita Reiko presented the proposal to the municipal assembly with the aim of bringing into the city's policy the opinions of residents with diversified origins.

The proposal was to grant votes in referendums to anyone aged 18 or older who has been registered as a resident for at least three months.

This would effectively enable foreign nationals to vote under the same conditions as Japanese.

The results of the referendums are not legally binding, but the draft ordinance attracted much attention from outside the city as well as within it, including that of lawmakers.

An assembly committee approved the draft last week. But it was voted down 14 to 11 in a plenary session on Tuesday.

Members of factions led by the Constitutional Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party voted in favor, while members of factions led by the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito voted against.

Speaking in favor of the plan, one assembly member said the proposed ordinance would greatly help advance citizen autonomy.

But another argued that certain conditions must be set before foreign residents are allowed to cast ballots.

Mayor Matsushita told reporters after the vote that she is taking the assembly's rejection seriously.

She said she will listen to the assembly's opinion that more information should be provided before enacting the ordinance.

Matsushita added that she will review the proposal and continue to seek ways to create a society in which people respect diversity and support each other.

東京・武蔵野市で、市内に住む外国人が住民投票に参加することを認める条例案が提出されましたが、21日の市議会で採決の結果、否決されました。 - ANNnewsCH