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Should foreign residents have local voting rights?

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No. Why? Afraid locals will blame foreigners for govt's failed policies.

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In Denmark and Sweden, foreigners can vote for local elections, but not for parliament elections. if foreigners participate in the daily routines in a society, then dont see why they shouldnt be allowed to vote. Voting means participating in society. Anyway, just because youre a native citizen, doesnt mean that you understand political elections better or worse than a foreigner.

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"In Denmark and Sweden, foreigners can vote for local elections,".

Yes, they can providing they are EU citizens or Nordic Passport Union holders, which excludes Japanese citizens. That's the same everywhere within the EU, minus the Nordic thingy! As things stand Japan should not allow foreigners to vote in Japan because there's no reciprocity and Japanese cannot vote anywhere in Europe/US/Australia/Africa/Asia!

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No, not unless they're prepared to become citizens. They should, of course, be allowed to become citizens.

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Certainly! We pay taxes and follow the rigid J law and regulations. We deserved to be heard..:)

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No. Why? Afraid locals will blame foreigners for govt's failed policies.

What if the foreigners could help out with that failed policies and make this island a better country to live?..:)

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Agree with seesaw. We pay the taxes so why not?

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Yes, PR's should be given the right to vote! PR's pay taxes the same as Japanese do! Human's all bleed red don't we so in human natures mind we are equals. Why is this Island so against change and the betterment of mankind. If PR are given the right to vote then the GOV is afraid that Politians will directly campaign to change old outdated laws for example, "DISCRIMINATION" to obtain PR's votes! Little by little PR's will become equals and they lose their superiority over PR's on this Island. If you want to live 200 years in the past then don't give PR's the right to vote. If you really want to be respected as a free society then do what's human!!!!!!!!!1

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Those with permanent resident status who fulfill all legal responsibilities should, yes.

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No, not unless they're prepared to become citizens. They should, of course, be allowed to become citizens.

I second this.

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Heheh, no taxation without representation!

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As a homeowner and a PR, yes, I would like to have say too when it comes to my town spending my taxes. It would make all PRs feel more accepted and integrated into society and, who knows, more contributions to society will come up in the future by foreigners.

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Agree that Permanent Residents should be able to vote. Not sure if it should be limited to only local elections. Might open up a lot more political information becoming available in English, since not all of us are going to become competent in newspaper level Nihongo.

Just because one lives here, though, should not give one the right to vote.

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Permanent Residents or Citizens should be able to vote, temporary or non citizen's should not. Like Ranger_Miffy said above, "Just because one lives here, though, should not give one the right to vote." Citizens mainly should be allowed.

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No.

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Yes. The alternative would be to stop paying taxes.

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In Switzerland, the lefties and liberals granted the right to vote for foreigners on a local level (they can't vote on a federal level), and the result was funny: most foreigners voted for the right, or even far right.

I think that would be a great idea and shake the Japanese a little bit. A lot of Japanese don't vote, and it would be funny to see how the crowd would react when 99.99% of foreigners would vote for the kyousanto. The Japanese are one of the most uncompetitive people in the World: opening their borders and opportunities in the society for foreigners would definitely be a plus, as most of J-males are worthless lazy bums, a rough competition is what they need to get out of mommy's skirts. This is a great idea. This is just Darwin.

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Those with PR should be able to. To be honest, I find that most gaijin have a much better understanding and interest in J politics than any Japanese I've met. Probably because we have more concerns but most Japanese don't seem to have any clue about what goes on here in terms of their government.

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Darwin? Survival of the fittest? Hmmm! I think he is wrong on that and that those who survived were the ones who cooperated the most.

Voting in local elections for foreigners who are permanent residents with a permanent visa (who fulfil all their legal responsibilities) ought to be considered as voters. I don't think others should have that right.

I think foreigners who whine about and insult their hosts should not vote even if they were entitled to.

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Change your citizenship to Japanese, gain the right to vote. If paying taxes were the issue, should foreign companies staff stationed in Japan have the right, too?

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unless they become japanese citizens, i vote no.

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The thing with changing to Japanese nationality is that they will still not be considered by the local population as "Japanese". Legally yes but I can't see any benefits besides being able to vote. It certainly won't make my white skin change and look like a local.

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If paying taxes were the issue, should foreign companies staff stationed in Japan have the right, too?

They already do - it's called lobbying. Ha!

(It's already an issue in the US where many large companies that are majority-controlled by foreign entities spend a lot of money lobbying members of Congress, in a sense, going straight to the person whom people vote into office.)

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We pay the taxes so why not?

In return for paying tax, you benefit from the way tax is spent e.g. use of roads, street lighting, waste collection, fire and police services etc. You are even entitled to social welfare benefits. So you are already getting back just as much as someone with Japanese nationality, pretty much.

@ tmarie

The thing with changing to Japanese nationality is that they will still not be considered by the local population as "Japanese". Legally yes but I can't see any benefits besides being able to vote. It certainly won't make my white skin change and look like a local.

But you can play a part in changing that social attitude.

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No. In the USA this would be regarded as a proposal by the loony-left.

The right to vote is one of the highest privileges of citizenship.

If you live in Japan as a guest, a permanent resident, tourist, whatever: you probably have the right to cast your vote in your home country (unless you are from a dictatorship/one-party state) by absentee ballot. Do that. Or, renounce your citizenship and take the long hard road to apply to become a citizen of the country that you choose - and one that will in turn accept you.

Allowing foreigners to vote in Japan sounded like some sort of insanity - then I found that its actually part of the party platform of the DPJ. So be it, if that's what they want. But to me, its just plain nutty.

Kind regards, Joe Q.

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When "foreign residents" mean the majority of posters here who can't even fill out a point card application in their local supermarkets, the answer is no.

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When "foreign residents" mean the majority of posters here who can't even fill out a point card application in their local supermarkets, the answer is no

Agreed. Including hysteric japanphile (lol). If you would be japanese litterate, you would know that Westerners are not included in this debate. Japanese right wing medias and websites are focusing on the asian zainichi. I hope you won't speak on their behalf and that you will have the dignity to show love to this wonderful country (Japan) in other ways than beeing a silly, and somehow funny, wappanese.

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If you would be japanese litterate, you would know that Westerners are not included in this debate.

In what debate? This particular question thread? If you mean the actual debate among the Japanese public in regards to DPJ's proposed bill, then your "opening their borders" BS is not included in that debate since were're "focusing on the asian zainichi".

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Nigelboy, you are confused. I don't want the Japanese to open their borders and I didn't make any reference to this debate (the national one concerning the DPJ proposal) in my previous post.

Concerning the "real" debate, Zainichi are the main concerns. But as nobody treated this question in this thread, I suggest that you start by giving us your opinion about that. But beware: in french, we have one saying: Etre plus royaliste que le roi, which can dangerousely apply to your case. Anyway, no ill feelings. I like your energy (which must scare the Japaneses though).

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Concerning the "real" debate, Zainichi are the main concerns. But as nobody treated this question in this thread, I suggest that you start by giving us your opinion about that.

IMO, elections should be granted to citizens only simply because they are the ones that have to live with their own decisions since they cannot, as a general rule, "get the hell out of dodge when $hit hits the fan".

As for the Zainichi having votes on a local level, first thing that these special resident must understand is that they reside in Japan on permit, meaning Japanese government is giving them "permission" to reside in Japan. Having said that, as a compromise, the decision to grant the local suffrage should be made at the local level and not make a national standard like what DPJ is proposing.

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@Peeping Tom. Not true when you say that only EU or Nordic passport are the only ones eligeble for voting in Scandinavia. My mom is a thai citizen with thai passport with danish residence permit and have always been allowed to vote for local elections these last 30 years. And so is the case with several others i know.

There seems to be no real intellectual argument for or against why foreigners should be allowed to vote or not. Its all about taking part in society. Voting is indeed a privilege.

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As for the Zainichi having votes on a local level, first thing that these special resident must understand is that they reside in Japan on permit, meaning Japanese government is giving them "permission" to reside in Japan

Zainichi problems are nothing common with the Gaijin problem, historically and socially. I am quite amazed that you speak about zainichi (I mean the chosen-jin and some others), as "guests". They don't owe anything to Japan and have the right (not the permission) to live here in Japan if, by the course of history, their roots lie there. The ugly thing in this debate is that we can still see the fear and hate that those zainichi can provoke in some japanese people mind, related to the everyday ugliness of mass-komi, and the use ad nauseum of some non-issues (the abductees beeing one of them). Still, my concern was about the word you used (permission), but overall I agree with you on the citizenship thingy and the term of compromise (If a Chosen-jin doesn't want to apply to J-citizenship and doesn't want to stick to the Japanese community for ABC reasons, then a compromise should be granted).

As a matter of fact, I am quite sure that the Zainichi are definitely more politicized than the Japanese, and I am wondering if the DPJ is not looking for some support from those communities, as they certainly get out of the couch on a election day.

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No way. If you can't be bothered to become a citizen why would you get to affect the people who are going to invest their lives in the area?

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I am quite amazed that you speak about zainichi (I mean the chosen-jin and some others), as "guests". They don't owe anything to Japan and have the right (not the permission) to live here in Japan if, by the course of history, their roots lie there

Well. I didn't quite use the term "guests" but if you read the specific laws that apply to them, they are in fact permitted (許可)by the MOJ to reside in Japan.

The ugly thing in this debate is that we can still see the fear and hate that those zainichi can provoke in some japanese people mind, related to the everyday ugliness of mass-komi, and the use ad nauseum of some non-issues (the abductees beeing one of them).

How hateful can Japan be when Chosensoren can operate Pro-Kim Jung Il/Anti-Japan schools throughout various areas in Japan without the severe racial violence we witness in Western nations?

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I don't see why permanent residents in any country can't vote in local elections.

When I went into the ward office to discuss if it was possible to defer my tax payments as I am unemployed at the moment they were so impressed with my arguments and logic they said that I should stand for election! And when I said that I can't even vote here they looked embarrassed considering my tax bill for last year!

National elections is another matter and that should be for citizens only.

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Foreign residents in Japan are often very transient and are generally not here for more than a couple years.

If voting rights are granted, it should be to the section of foreign population that has made a longer term commitment to staying in Japan.

However, the issue is rather pointless as even the typical Japanese citizen does not follow or even understand the political system here. Even with level 1 certification in Japanese it would be extremely difficult to understand most of the political debates and issues with enough understanding to make an educated decision as to how to vote. This could be solved by publishing pertinent information in multiple languages, having news and government tv programs with multiple language subtitles, and giving application forms and various papers in the requested language. I do not see this happening, as the costs involved would be staggering.

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Definately, YES. I pay taxes, I have lived here for over 20 years, and I should have voting rights. Japanese people, or any foreigners for that matter, who are living, working or studying in the UK get automatic voting rights if they are there for longer than 6 months, even though they may be only short-term residents. I would have loved to have had the chance to vote in the recent election, and also in my local elections, to try to do something about the lack of services and also the waste of public money, due to the policies of the former corrupt LDP

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Eddisobextar Your assertion that even those of us with lkkyu in Japanese cannot understand the politics well enough to vote is an insult to our intelligence. Even those with hardly any Japanese ability still have political opinions and enough gumption to exercise their democratic rights.

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realist - "I should have voting rights"

Not until you become a citizen of the country which is holding the elections you want to vote in.

How many countries let foreigners vote in their elections?

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How many countries let foreigners vote in their elections?

You'd be surprised, Sarge.

According to Wiki , Argentina, Colombia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Israel, Jersey, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Slovenia, S Korea, Sweden, Uruguay, Venezuela. That's not counting all the places that allow voting rights to some non-citizens, eg. Commonwealth citizens in other Commonwealth countries, Nordic countries, EU etc.

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Cleo - If you were still living in the U.K., you'd be OK with foreigners voting in U.K. elections?

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No, I like being a grouchy foreigner.

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I'd say that the level of my Japanese puts me at least on a par with the Japanese lady I was speaking to who told me the then-struggling PM Abe would pull through and be a great Prime Minister because "It is in his DNA".

I'd say permanent residency, plus paying every penny of tax you owe, gives one at least as much right to vote as some twittering airhead whose favour can be bought with something pink and cute.

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Let's see: most of foreigners in Japan are asians not whites, most of them are chinese and korean and among those koreans most of them are north korean, crazy Kimi fans. Letting Kimi north koreans and commie chinese vote in any elections even if it is just local elections is just like asking for political sabotage.

Why would japanese let chinese residents to vote in japanese elections? Is there any reciprocity with China? of course no.

And let's be honest: asking and allowing permanent residents to vote at the local elections is just like opening the Pandora's box. One day will come where they would find unfair to vote only at local elections and not at the national elections. And after that, why would foreigners be allowed to vote and not be allowed to be candidates or politicians?

It just never stops...

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Permanent residents are taxed just like any other Japanese citizen (ie. Globally) so why can't they have the right to vote ?

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Permanent residents are taxed just like any other Japanese citizen (ie. Globally) so why can't they have the right to vote ?

So are 1 year and 3 year visa holders. Even most of visa overstayers pay taxes...Why only permanent residents? why only local and not national elections ? why only vote and not being candidate? why only japanese politicians and not foreign candidates? Why etc...

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Nope! Until they become citizens of this country.

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A Japanese friend of mine was surprised I couldn't vote.

I don't think it's a big deal either way - I pay my taxes and have been here a while but I don't feel a lack in not being able to vote in local elections. I think it should be the rights of citizens only - if you are wanting to vote you should renounce your original citizenship and take up Japanese citizenship. But I don't feel that strongly about it, really.

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Eddisofbextar, I don't even know where to start.

First, I echo the sentiments of realist in saying that despite my foreign origins, I am quite capable of understanding Japanese politics. It's not really a matter of passing level one as much as following what is going on.

Second, your assertion that the typical Japanese citizen does not follow politics is sorely refuted by the 69% voter turnout rate in last month's election.

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Sarge - EU citizens and Commonwealth citizens already do have full voting rights. I see nothing wrong with taxpayers who are registered permanent residents having local voting rights. Or even full voting rights.

Allowing dual nationality would also be nice.

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With all the migrations, the meaning of citizenship is going to lose its meaning. And then with the introduction of a common currency, it will almost be like we are going to be playing a game of monopoly. So what is going to become of nations and nationalities and voting?

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I believe a person should be allowed to vote in only the elections in the country which he/she is a citizen of. I'm a permanent resident of Japan and I pay taxes here but I vote in U.S. elections by absentee ballot.

"dual nationality"

That's another thing I disagree with. You can't be a citizen of two different countries. You're either a Brit or you're a Japanese. If you've got a white or a black face, you're going to have a hard time trying to be a Japanese.

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Nope. Not a t'all until they become citizens....

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You can't be a citizen of two different countries.

Au contaire, many countries allow and/or recognise dual nationality.

You're either a Brit or you're a Japanese.

Again, not so. Citizenship is all to do with what's written on paper. There is nothing at all special about being 'Japanese' that prevents a person also being a Brit. Arnie has dual Austrian and US citizenship, and no one seems to have much of a problem with that.

If you've got a white or a black face, you're going to have a hard time trying to be a Japanese.

Three strikes and you're out, Sarge. My kids have 'white' faces, they've never had a hard time being Japanese.

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"Japanese people, or any foreigners for that matter, who are living, working or studying in the UK get automatic voting rights if they are there for longer than 6 months, even though they may be only short-term residents"

Bullcrap, and you know it! I'm a Londoner and my girl is Japanese; she can't vote even though she's lived here since she was a child.

EU citizens are the only foreigners allowed to vote in the UK local elections; as recently as this very minute Japan is still not part of the EU, therefore all Japanese people living and paying taxes in the EU are not allowed to vote; they aren't complaining either! Why must you foreigners vote in Japan when Japanese cannot vote in yours and my country is beyond me!

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Why must you foreigners vote in Japan when Japanese cannot vote in yours and my country is beyond me!

Well, as a long-term resident of Japan and a British citizen, I'm not allowed to vote in UK elections. It would not bring the world to an end if I could vote in Japan where I live and your girl could vote in the UK, where she lives.

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Nothing against your aspirations Cleo.

However, whilst Japan seems prepared to let you vote, no one in the UK is suggesting reciprocal rights for my girl. Again, why should you be allowed to vote in her country if she's not permitted to vote in yours? There must be a balance otherwise foreigners will be allowed to influence Japanese politics, while denying the same rights to Japanese living in their countries.

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Let's forget citizenship and let's forget Japan for the moment and look at it from a higher perspective.

First of all, it has become the rule rather than the exception that people migrate. Migration is this context means they change their place of living, independent whether it is within their country or internationally. Second, people often do not only migrate once, but several times within their lives. Mostly this is within one country, but the number of people migrating several times between countries is increasing. These are facts.

Third, the right to actively and passively participate in the political decisions is a fundamental right for every human being. This right should apply to those decision bodies which are relevant for the individual's life. For people who migrate, it is sometimes (or often?) difficult to determine the relevant decision bodies. So ideally, it becomes the individual's choice which entity is relevant for him.

Fourth, when you have competing political entities, you want to make sure that each entity is controlled only by people who have an interest in success, but not by people from competing entities, which have an interest in failure. When people move between entities, it is difficult to determine their interest.

Fifth, I think we can safely state that when a local entity is relevant for an individual, the higher entities, which have political control over the local entity become relevant as well.

Historically, since people didn't often migrate between states, it was assumed that the state's political decisions are always relevant for the individual. That's why participation in national elections is coupled to citizenship. Migration on the local level was more frequent, but didn't happen too often. It is assumed that the relevant body is or becomes the one at the place of residence and that people are or become interested in the welfare of their place of living. That's why participation in local elections is usually coupled to the residence at the time shortly before the election takes place. Obviously this is a compromise between target three and four, which only works under the condition that people do not migrate often and do not migrate beyond states. But as written in the beginning, the basic conditions for the compromise are not valid any more. This is not only the case on the national level, but as well on the local level. Therefore it is time to think about more suitable compromises for both.

Now, let's come back to Japan. From the above, you can see that I think it is not only necessary to change to election law with regard to foreigners, but as well for Japanese who move inside their country. I would like to start with the premise, that the individual's choice of the relevant political entity has the highest value. For Japanese people, this means they can freely chose which local election they want to participate, independent of their place of residence. For foreigners, this means they can chose to participate in both local and national elections from the time they become residents in Japan. They should as well have to choice to participate in local elections only, because it might be that national elections in their original country remain more relevant for them in the long term.

On the other hand, the individual must confirm his/her commitment to the new entity, where he/her wants to participate in the elections. For this, he/she should have to renounce his/her right to elections in the previous local or national entity. On a practical level, this means bi- or multilateral treaties between Japan and other countries and would mean that Japanese citizens who move abroad would have the same rights there, if they wish. I can imagine that some other barriers like a proof of sufficient language abilities would make sense as well. Furthermore, in order to avoid "election hopping" as I would call it, there must be some time barrier for repeated change of the election entity. For example, for local elections, this could be at least one election period and for national elections at least two election periods before the next change is possible.

In response to some of the comments above: yes, all this could be somehow coupled to citizenship. But I think there are good reasons why to keep election rights separate from citizenship. It will avoid the privilege of double election rights, which dual citizenship entails today. It allows to keep the cultural and emotional link to the original country, even though the relevant political entity changes for a longer period of time. Switching back and forth between citizenships is - at least currently - not possible easily. And last but not least, there are certain states which limit certain rights like social welfare, pension or heritage rights etc. to their own citizens.

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When "foreign residents" mean the majority of posters here who can't even fill out a point card application in their local supermarkets, the answer is no.

if you stopped and looked around once in a while you'd notice how many Japanese can't fill ouy a point card application in their local supermarket or use a ticket machime in JR.

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You can't be a citizen of two different countries.

While of course having different opinions is to be expected, I can't believe you of all people are getting your facts so wrong. Of course you can be a citizen of more than one country.

no one in the UK is suggesting reciprocal rights for my girl.

I think they should. The UK should grant those rights to all people with 'indefinite leave to remain' (=PR). But anyway, why is repicprocation suddenly so important? People who always like to argue against foreigners' rights in Japan, such as your good self, usually say that reciprocation is unimportant. Eg, UK citizens get fingerprinted at Japanese airports, whereas Japanese citizens don't get fingerprinted at UK airports. "So what?" cry the Japanophiles, "it's Japan's choice." So how come reciprocation is important now?

Anyway, the fact that J-politicians are even debating this issue is a step in the right direction. Remember we're only talking about local elections here, not national policy. If someone has PR (+maybe a family, long term job etc) why shouldn't they be able to vote in debate concerning rubbish collection, the schools their kids attend, the state of local koban etc.

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not only voting rights but winning rights. A foreigner on city council would be just the ticket to whip this place out of third world status.

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A foreigner on city council would be just the ticket to whip this place out of third world status.

What brought this place to a third world status? Foreign influence?

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I say no. I see no connection with paying taxes and the vote. Taxes pay for services and no more.

Voting rights are the citizens rights to wield power. I dont understand why anyone would accept foreigners wielding power over their lives. If you wish to vote then commit to the country you live in and take up citizenship.

I agree there should be a debate on dual nationality though.

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"People who always like to argue against foreigners' rights in Japan, such as your good self, usually say that reciprocation is unimportant"

Perhaps you've got me mixed-up with somebody else; my position has always been on the side of reciprocity as far as relations between countries are concerned; show me any post on which I espouse the opposite!

Foreigners don't have any 'rights' to exercise political activities; you may be granted such a privilege by your hosts, who in turn could revoke it if they so wish (your having a PR doesn't mean it cannot be revoked and your expulsion been carried out).

"UK citizens get fingerprinted at Japanese airports, whereas Japanese citizens don't get fingerprinted at UK airports. "

But you also use the "Japanese only" queue at their airports, don't you (assuming you're a PR)? Guess what, they can't use it here in the UK! Perhaps in the name of balance Japanese should be fingerprinted in the UK and you forced to use the "foreigners only" line in Japan, irrespective of PR? While on the subject, every single Japanese person I know states categorically they would not moan were they to be fingerprinted in the UK; they already do it in the US and no one has died because of that.

So you want to have a say on how Japan should be run while Japanese in your country suck their thumbs? Never mind that the French/Germans/Italians and now even Romanians can vote in London; unless you can prove that the Japanese are also voting and exercising political rights in other countries (which they are not)it's all a moot point.

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Clarification:

Japanese residents in the UK must use the foreign/non-EU citizens line!

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The islamisation going on in the South East Asia, I think the Jgov. would be careful about giving the rights to foreigners and immigrants. I don't know how many are aware of the silent war going on between the catholics and the muslims in Japan. Both are acting to multiply their numbers by having more and more children. Those children are going to fill up the void in Japan. The hostesses entering here are with children and looking for Japanese step-fathers. This information is from the host club circle, so cannot verify the truthfulness of it.

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Paying of tax is same as Japanese. when comes to voting rights why not same as Japanese if he/she is permanent visa holder.Oh my dears it may be fake visa made by government to people whom they are holding.In airport always screned finger prints.Here are special permanent visa holders also how can use sweet language to them such?People do not think about visa.How many levels are here?Still more.This the example of discrimination in issunace of visa.But UN is silent becasue this body will not get money if talbled in headquater.

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I never vote. What a waste of time.

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EU citizens are the only foreigners allowed to vote in the UK local elections peeping tom,

rubbish

you dont have to be a brit or eu citizen to vote or stand in local or national elections if you are from the commonwealth

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