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Tokyo city committee OKs plan for foreigners to vote in referendums

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Hmm, a step in the right direction. All permanent residents should be eligible to vote.

7 ( +24 / -17 )

All permanent residents should be allowed to vote in my opinion.

13 ( +25 / -12 )

Fairly progressive

7 ( +15 / -8 )

WOW! @TokyoJoe - You're right. It's only a matter of time before this spreads to the rest of Japan! I'm sure there will be changes big time, especially getting the "foreigner" vote.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Anyone living here should be able to vote. Full stop.

-10 ( +13 / -23 )

If the ordinance is passed, Musashino will become the third city in Japan to grant voting rights to foreigners without setting special conditions, along with Zushi in Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo, and Toyonaka in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan.

The votes won't amount to much in these urban areas. When foreigners can vote in LDP rural strongholds with much greater proportional representation then you could be talking about things changing.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Great news. To answer @zichi 5:09pm the number of foreigners in Tokyo is down 5.35% from the previous year. - As of January 1st, 2021, there were about 546,436 foreigners living in Tokyo, comprising about 4.1% of the total Tokyo population of 13,297,089 people.

https://resources.realestate.co.jp/living/how-the-resident-foreigner-population-of-tokyo-has-changed-in-the-past-year/

An alternate source is: - https://www.statista.com/statistics/687916/japan-foreign-residents-number-by-prefecture/ -

“As of December 2019, close to 593.5 thousand foreign residents lived in Tokyo Prefecture.”

@zichi 5:09pm: “Important step in the right direction but how many foreigners live there?” -

0 ( +2 / -2 )

PR status should be allowed to vote. It might actually spark more Japanese besides the old and rural residents to participate in the voting process.

It also mean that Japanese candidates that are non LDP members could possibly win an election. I also know a few foreigners who became Japanese citizens that actually want to run for office.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Since it's next to impossible to get citizenship this is a good thing. Foreigner residents pay taxes just like the rest of Japan.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I accept the political participation of foreign residents as community members. But the minimum 3 months continual residency for eligibility seems to me lenient. Is there any precedent overseas? I used to live in a European country, got voting rights after full two years of my residency. Glad though, I still felt it a bit too progressive.

In Japan, we observe some abuses of such a short residency among Japanese citizens for qualifications to run for local assembly elections. The court has nullified election results due to "dubious" residency.

The residency for eligibility should be at least one to a few years long.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Since it's next to impossible to get citizenship this is a good thing. Foreigner residents pay taxes just like the rest of Japan.

But the minimum 3 months residency for eligibility can't prove your tax records (except consumption tax).

Meanwhile I agree that the citizenship acquisition process requires too much time and efforts.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Why should PR be allowed to vote, is that a normal practice on some countries? Can green card holders vote in the US?

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

It’s the pledge of allegiance that matters people. If you don’t have that for Japan and not a citizen, you are not voting!

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Alex: loads of counties (NZ is an example) allow people with PR to vote. Also don't revoke "PR" if leave the country for more than a bit.

Japan has lots of catching up to do on thid front.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

A lot of you folks making comments don't seem to understand that this is just for local municipal referendums, not for national elections. It's not even for selection of local elected officials. It's only for non-binding municipal referendums.

Those referendums are relatively minor from a whole-Japan perspective. But, it's stuff that directly affects the residents of the municipality. As such, it certainly seems fair to allow all residents of the municipality to vote on those referendums, regardless of citizenship.

The 3-month requirement seems fair, as that is the limit of tourist visas. Anything more typically requires some form of residence status: student, worker, spouse, etc.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@garypen. I get it. Fair enough. But one thing might lead to another and someday the unthinkable might happen.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

It should be limited to citizens to encourage responsibility in decisions. If you make political choices you should be forced to live with them.. just look at everyone fleeing 'progressive' states in America because they can't handle how bad they've become

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Yes, God forbid that this lead to tax-paying foreigners, living, working, and building families in Japan the right to vote in national elections.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@garypen. I get it. Fair enough. But one thing might lead to another and someday the unthinkable might happen.

A great unintentional paraphrase of the slippery slope logical fallacy. Thank you for your input as always hattorikun!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It's been a long time coming, LONG OVERDUE, the central government must start doing the same, you can't leave these TAX paying hard working foreigners behind.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

It's been a long time coming, LONG OVERDUE, the central government must start doing the same, you can't leave these TAX paying hard working foreigners behind.

Unless they are citizenship holders, granting eligibility to foreign residents at the national level politics is unlikely in Japan, unlikely as well in many democracies around the world. Proven tax payment is important, but is not sufficient. It's good time to think deep about the meaning of residency, voting rights, communal development & inclusivity, etc.

BTW, I basically agree on the dual citizenship, but that's another discussion topic.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

7 years in this city and I can finally vote. Westside!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I just wonder how much of all foreigners can understand political in Japan and the language to make a contribution for voting.

Many complain about Japan but even in Europe you are only allowed to vote always.

But now we are happy that we can vote.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Point taken @zichi 7:06pm and the overall positive “vibe” here today was this could be one progressive step toward more local governments following suit and doing the same. But, if we we want to nitpick, then a more truthful headline should read:

“*Musashino, a small Tokyo city’s committee OK’s plan for foreigners to vote in referendums”* ?

*- @zichi 7:06pm: “ I was asking how many foreigners live in Musashino, not the greater Tokyo. Only Musashino is affected. Of the city's total population of about 148,000, about 3,000 were foreign residents, as of Nov. 1.” -*

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why should PR be allowed to vote, is that a normal practice on some countries? Can green card holders vote in the US?

Forget the legal immigrants... In the US even the illegal immigrants vote..as close to no id check is required in many states..

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

The concept of foreigner is going to have to change away from ethnicity

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The rights of citizenship apply to those who are native born - exception is determined by law and requires a process. Want to vote in Japan, apply for citizenship - reading, writing and speaking fluent Japanese would be a good starting point. Individuals, typically Norte Americanos or Europeans, who continually clamor that living in Japan, as a foreign resident, determine that simply by the fact of paying taxes they should be entitled to full citizenship. Such folks seem to suffer from a sense of entitlement and certainly are delusional. Besides advancing incredibly simplistic 'thinking'. Gaining citizenship and the right to vote is an onerous process in any G-7 country and does not arrive simply by establishing domicile and paying taxes while an alien resident.

You are still allowed to vote in your home country, the tenets of citizenship typically requires payment of taxes, military service and the like. And you have an embassy or consulate in Japan -which provides entitled services to its citizens for example passports. And many have taken an oath of loyalty to their sovereign.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

AlexDec. 14  06:50 pm JST

Why should PR be allowed to vote, is that a normal practice on some countries? Can green card holders vote in the US?

Great question Slex. About 13 towns/cities in the US allow noncitizens to vote in local elections.

New York might soon allow dreamers to vote in municipal elections.

But at the same time:

mrtinjpDec. 14  09:52 pm JST

Forget the legal immigrants... In the US even the illegal immigrants vote..as close to no id check is required in many states..

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

If the condition is only 3 months residency, it is easy to make someone a politician.

3 months at least?

Isn't it insufficient for them to think about the future of the city?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

15 years of living in Japan and I was never allowed to vote. I brought my Japanese wife over here to NZ and she was voting within the first year. :)

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

zichiDec. 14  08:20 pm JST

American citizens are the only ones able to vote there, not Greencard holders.

That is inaccurate.

Fifteen municipalities across the country allowed noncitizens to vote in local elections as of December 2021. Eleven were located in Maryland, two were located in Vermont, one was located in New York, and the other was San Francisco, California.

Additionally, New York City Gives 800,000 Noncitizens Right to Vote in Local Elections

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/09/nyregion/noncitizens-voting-rights-nyc.html

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

hattorikunDec. 14  06:58 pm JST

It’s the pledge of allegiance that matters people. If you don’t have that for Japan and not a citizen, you are not voting!

Why should we pay taxes, then?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Been a permeant resident for over 20 years paying far share of taxes as complained once to Minato Ward about paying taxes with out a vote started the American revolution and they agreed but sorry just pay tax be quite and not vote. We should be able to vote.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Another senseless and meaningless paper tiger… Personally I am not interested in voting on only local and not even binding referendums.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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