DPJ bends on Lower House reform

JIJI

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan is preparing a new proposal for reducing the number of House of Representatives seats that is more reflective of the demands of small opposition parties, DPJ sources said.

The DPJ is now considering scrapping 50 of the 480 Lower House seats, while the current plan calls for cutting 80 seats.

DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi plans to present the proposal to other parties this week in the hope of breaking the deadlock in electoral reform talks for the powerful chamber.

Under the new proposal, the DPJ plans to eliminate five seats in less-populated single-seat constituencies to reduce vote-value disparities between such constituencies and heavily populated electoral districts.

The DPJ also plans to slash 45 proportional representation seats, cutting the total to 135. Thirty-five of those seats will be allocated under a distribution method more beneficial to smaller parties.

If the DPJ plan is adopted, the total number of Lower House seats will fall from 480 to 430.

It is uncertain, however, whether the new DPJ proposal will be accepted by other parties.

New Komeito favors the new seat distribution system for the 35 proportional representation seats, while the Liberal Democratic Party opposes the idea.

The DPJ promised to cut the number of Lower House seats by 80 in its campaign platform for the 2009 general election.