The internal affairs ministry will test online voting for Japanese citizens living abroad in an effort to raise voter turnout among such people in elections. The ministry will conduct the test after Sunday’s House of Councilors election with a goal of introducing it as early as the next Upper House poll in 2022, officials said. Eligible voters will be able to enter the voting page using electronic devices by verifying their identity through registered My Number identification cards. To protect privacy, voting data will be sent encrypted to Japan, and personal information attached to the data will be deleted when votes are counted. Voting data left on voter devices will also be deleted. An expert panel set up by the ministry proposed the introduction of online voting in August last year to address low voter turnout, at around 20 percent, among Japanese citizens overseas. The low rates are believed to reflect a shorter voting period due to the need to send votes to Japan as well as the need to go to diplomatic missions where polling stations are set up.Full Article: Japan to test online voting for overseas citizens | The Japan Times.
Articles about voting issues in Japan.
Japan: Japan already in for politically hectic 2019, but may see ‘double election’ | The Japan Times
Take a quick look at Japan’s political calendar for 2019. It’s shaping up to be one heck of a year. There will be nationwide local elections in mid-April, which will be followed by Emperor Akihito’s historic abdication at the end of the same month and the arrival of a new era. A little less than two months later, in late June, the nation will host the Group of 20 summit in Osaka for the first time ever, before political tensions soar once again later in the summer when a pivotal Upper House election is held. The nation will then brace for a consumption tax hike, slated for October, from the current eight to 10 percent. Hectic? That’s for sure. But experts say Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, determined to follow through on his longtime quest to revise the postwar Constitution, could make things even more complicated by engineering what is often dubbed a “double election” — where he strategically dissolves the Lower House to coincide with the pre-scheduled July Upper House poll.Full Article: Japan already in for politically hectic 2019, but may see 'double election' | The Japan Times.
Early voting in the governor race here is surging as rumors swirl online that employers are pressuring workers to vote for certain candidates and provide photographic evidence of their choices at the ballot box. Some Internet users have posted allegations of such interference, including pictures, prompting alarmed lawyers in Okinawa Prefecture to call on the prefectural election administration committee to impose a ban on taking photographs inside polling stations. “It is a grave situation violating freedom of voting and ballot secrecy,” one of the lawyers said.Full Article: Claims of voter manipulation cast shadow over Okinawa poll：The Asahi Shimbun.
A new online voting system based on the My Number identification system and blockchain technology has been introduced in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture. Tsukuba, well known as a center for scientific research, is the first in the country to start using such a voting system, according to the city. The system allows voters to cast ballots via a computer display after placing the My Number card on a card reader. Blockchain technology is used to prevent the voting data from being falsified or read.Full Article: Tsukuba first in Japan to deploy online voting system | The Japan Times.
Japan: Government panel proposes allowing Japanese expats to vote online using My Number ID cards | The Japan Times
A government panel said Friday it would be feasible to introduce an online voting system for Japanese expatriates to participate in national elections. Technical hurdles concerning voter identification could be overcome with the use of My Number ID cards, according to a report compiled by the internal affairs ministry panel. The ministry plans to conduct an online voting test in fiscal 2019 and request funds for the trial under the government’s budget for the year, which runs from April next year, ministry officials said. It hopes to revise the public offices election law in fiscal 2020 at the earliest so that the internet voting system can be introduced for Japanese people living abroad, they said.Full Article: Government panel proposes allowing Japanese expats to vote online using My Number ID cards | The Japan Times.
The municipal government here has decided to scrap its electronic voting system, the only one of its kind in Japan, it has been learned. With the cost burden on the Rokunohe Municipal Government heavy and the spread of the system slow, the Tokyo-based electronic voting system promotion cooperative association composed of voting machine makers and sellers was unable to update the town’s machines, leading to the decision to abandon the system. The town had planned to use electronic voting during the municipal assembly elections set for next spring, but now has decided to return to paper ballots. Electronic voting was introduced in Japan in 2002 through special legislation, but was still limited only to local elections. It was hoped that the machines would improve speed and accuracy in vote counting. However, in reality, it has made little traction, and with Rokunohe’s decision, there is now not a single municipality in Japan making use of the system.Full Article: Last municipality in Japan scraps electronic voting system - The Mainichi.
Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has secured a strong mandate for his hard line against North Korea and room to push for revision of the country’s pacifist constitution after his party crushed untested opposition parties in Sunday’s general election. Abe’s Liberal Democratic party (LDP) and its junior coalition partner Komeito were on course to win 311 seats, keeping its two-thirds “supermajority” in the 465-member lower house, an exit poll by TBS television showed. Some other broadcasters had the ruling bloc slightly below the two-thirds mark. A supermajority would allow Abe to propose changes to the constitution, which currently restricts its military to a defensive role. Most voters, however, oppose reform. After a day that saw millions of voters brave driving rain and powerful winds brought on by Typhoon Lan, Abe’s election gamble appeared to have paid off, after he called the vote more than a year earlier than scheduled.Full Article: Shinzo Abe secures strong mandate in Japan's general election | World news | The Guardian.
A surge of popularity for a freshly minted opposition party in Japan is making Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to call a snap election look riskier than initially thought. Abe dissolved the lower house of parliament Thursday, setting the stage for an Oct. 22 vote. The Party of Hope, launched earlier this week by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, may not dethrone Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party but analysts say it could put a dent in the LDP’s majority. A major setback could derail Abe’s presumed hope to extend his rule for three more years at a party leadership meeting next year. Minutes after the lower house dissolution, Abe made a fiery speech to party members. He said he is seeking a public mandate on his tough diplomatic and defense policies to deal with escalating threats from North Korea, and that party members would have to relay his message to win voter support during the campaign.Full Article: Japan’s Abe faces new challenge as he calls snap election - The Washington Post.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering calling a snap election as early as next month to take advantage of an uptick in approval ratings and disarray in the main opposition party, domestic media reported on Sunday. Abe’s ratings have recovered to the 50 percent level in some polls, helped by public jitters over North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests and chaos in the opposition Democratic Party, struggling with single-digit support and defections. Abe told the head of his Liberal Democratic Party’s junior coalition partner, the Komeito party, that he could not rule out dissolving parliament’s lower house for a snap poll after the legislature convenes for an extra session from Sept. 28, public broadcaster NHK reported, citing unidentified informed sources.Full Article: Japan's PM Abe mulling snap election as early as October: media.
A law to revise lower house electoral districts to reduce voting weight disparities between densely and sparsely populated constituencies took effect Sunday following a monthlong period to notify the public about the changes. The revised Public Offices Election Law reduced the number of lower house members elected from Aomori, Iwate, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Mie and Nara prefectures by one each, with another four seats cut from proportional representation blocks, shrinking the lower house to a postwar low of 465 seats. The amendment brings the maximum vote weight disparity between districts down to 1.999 to 1 — just under the 2-to-1 threshold that the Supreme Court has said would undermine the Japanese Constitution’s guarantee of equality for all under the law.
As recently as this spring, Shinzo Abe looked as if he was on track to become Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, no small feat in a country where the leadership sometimes seems to be equipped with a revolving door. But a local election in Tokyo has put Mr. Abe’s longevity in doubt. Voters for the capital’s metropolitan assembly on Sunday resoundingly rejected candidates from Mr. Abe’s party, the Liberal Democrats, while electing all but one of 50 fielded by an upstart party founded by Tokyo’s popular governor, Yuriko Koike. The victory for Tomin First, the party Ms. Koike established in January, was widely seen as a referendum on Mr. Abe as much as a vote of confidence in Ms. Koike.Full Article: Tokyo Voters’ Rebuke Signals Doubt About Shinzo Abe’s Future - The New York Times.
As the capital prepares for the July 2 Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election, moves to provide voting support for the disabled are spreading. In addition to websites informing visually impaired people about the election, DVDs have been produced to support the intellectually disabled in the voting process. It is hoped such moves will facilitate the process for the approximately 106,000 visually and intellectually disabled people in Tokyo who are of voting age.Full Article: Voting support offered to disabled for Tokyo Met. Assembly election - The Mainichi.
Japan: Diet finally enacts electoral redistricting law to correct vote weight disparities across Japan | The Japan Times
After years of stalling, the Diet enacted a law Friday to revise Lower House electoral districts to reduce voting weight disparities between densely and sparsely populated precincts that had marred the credibility of national elections. Based on population projections for 2020, the law will bring the maximum vote weight disparity between districts down to 1.999 to 1 — just under the 2-to-1 threshold that the Supreme Court has said would undermine the Constitution’s guarantee of equality for all under the law. It will do this by cutting 10 seats from the House of Representatives and redrawing district boundaries. The changes will take effect on July 16 after a monthlong period to notify the public about the changes. The amendment to the public offices election law will shrink the Lower House to a postwar low of 465 seats.Full Article: Diet finally enacts electoral redistricting law to correct vote weight disparities across Japan | The Japan Times.
Though some in Japan’s ruling coalition hope for a snap lower house election this month while support remains high and opposition parties weak, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seems more inclined to spend his ample political capital on economic policymaking. “In these four days [since New Year’s], I have not thought at all” about dissolving the lower house for early elections, Abe told reporters Wednesday after his annual visit to the Ise Grand Shrine. Many in the government and the ruling coalition think the public would not support going to the polls now, given that Abenomics’ full promise remains unfulfilled. Lower house members’ terms are set to expire in December 2018. “We must escape deflation and put the Japanese economy firmly on a new path for growth,” Abe said at the news conference.Full Article: Early elections in Japan look unlikely till fall, if at all- Nikkei Asian Review.
Tokyo has elected its first female governor to take charge of the city amid troubled 2020 Olympic Games preparations after a foul-mouthed campaign of misogyny and mudslinging. Yuriko Koike claimed victory after exit polls and early vote counts pointed to a strong lead for the former defence and environment minister. “I will lead Tokyo politics in an unprecedented manner, a Tokyo you have never seen,” she said in a voice slightly hoarse after two weeks of campaigning. The election, which was contested by a record field of 21 candidates in a city home to 13.6 million people, was called after the previous governor, Yoichi Masuzoe, resigned over a financial scandal involving the use of public funds to pay for lavish hotels and spa trips.Full Article: Tokyo elects first female governor | World news | The Guardian.
Japan: Tokyo turmoil: race to rule world’s largest city mired in sex scandal and misogyny | The Guardian
It is a race to take charge of the world’s largest city – a metropolis with a population more than half the size of the United Kingdom and with a GDP greater than all but 10 countries. But the election for the post of governor of Tokyo has piqued interest not only because of the size of the task which falls to its victor, but also for the mud slinging and misogyny which has characterised the fight between the candidates. Voters in Tokyo will go to the polls on Sunday amid a campaign marred by events that some say highlights the worst of Japan’s male-dominated politics. The winner will take over after the two previous incumbents resigned in disgrace, and is tasked with overseeing the 2020 Olympics, coming up with ways to offset problems caused by the capital’s rapidly ageing population, and providing better child care services. It is a weighty job serving approximately 37 million people in the Tokyo metro area and a record 21 candidates are running.Full Article: Tokyo turmoil: race to rule world's largest city mired in sex scandal and misogyny | World news | The Guardian.
A Japanese court has found an election law provision denying prisoners the right to vote in a national poll is constitutional, in the latest ruling in a series of lawsuits filed over the controversial issue. The Hiroshima District Court on Wednesday rejected a claim by a prison inmate in his 50s who sought the right to vote on the grounds the election law contravenes the Constitution, which guarantees the “inalienable right” to choose public officials. “We cannot say it is against the Constitution,” presiding Judge Masayuki Suenaga said in the ruling, adding there is a “certain degree of reasonableness” in the restrictions set by Article 11 of the Public Offices Election Law, which says imprisoned individuals cannot vote.Full Article: Hiroshima court rules law denying inmates right to vote constitutional | The Japan Times.
A resounding election victory for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc has opened the door a crack for his long-cherished ambition to revise the constitution for the first time since it was enacted in 1947 — a behind-the-scenes agenda that could over time change Japan’s future. Gains in parliamentary elections Sunday mean that Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, with the help of coalition partner Komeito and fringe groups supporting constitutional change, now can cobble together the crucial two-thirds majority in the 242-member upper house needed to propose revision and put it to a referendum. The LDP and Komeito already have a two-thirds majority in the lower house. Holding a so-called “supermajority” in both houses is rare, and the LDP’s long-term goal of constitutional revision has never seemed so realistic.Full Article: Japan's vote opens door to constitution change - The Jakarta Post.
Sunday marked the first Japanese national election in which the minimum voting age was lowered to 18 from 20. But the lackluster participation of the teens highlights the challenges political parties face in reaching out to youth. The turnout ratio for teenagers in the upper house election was 45.4%, compared with 54.7% for all age groups, according to the internal affairs ministry. A closer look at the teen voters shows that 18-year-olds had a much higher participation rate of 51.17% compared with the 39.66% for 19-year-olds. The former are often still in high school and thus have more opportunities to learn about voting rights in school, while the latter are often in college or working. The rate for 18-year-olds was higher than expected, said Kazunori Kawamura, associate professor at Tohoku University, while stressing a need for a mechanism to help keep them involved.Full Article: Connecting with Japan's teen voters looms as hurdle amid low turnout- Nikkei Asian Review.
Japan’s ruling coalition secured a resounding victory in upper house elections on Sunday, with some exit polls predicting that prime minister Shinzo Abe’s party and its allies would achieve the legislative firepower they need to rewrite the country’s pacifist constitution. According to the exit polls, Abe’s Liberal Democratic party (LDP) was on course to win 57 to 59 seats of the 121 seats that were contested. Its junior coalition partner, the Buddhist-backed Komeito, was expected to win 14 seats. Combined with other minor conservative parties, the coalition was within reach of the number of seats it needs in the upper house to set in motion plans to change the US-authored constitution for the first time since it was introduced in 1947.Full Article: Japan's ruling coalition on course to win parliamentary election | World news | The Guardian.