Abe eyes support for electoral reform bill

JIJI

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for support from the opposition parties Monday to pass a bill proposed by the ruling coalition to reform the electoral districts for the House of Representatives.

The bill would amend the public offices election law to eliminate five of the 300 single-seat constituencies and redraw others to reduce vote-value disparities between densely and sparsely populated districts.

“The core part (of the reform) was enacted with the support of the Democratic Party of Japan in the previous parliamentary session,” Abe said to the House of Councilors Budget Committee. “I believe it is the job of the legislature to pass a law that is based on proposals by the Council on the House of Representatives Electoral District.”

Legislation to cut one Lower House seat each from five prefectures was enacted last November.

After high courts across the nation recently declared the results of the last election unconstitutional, the council drafted proposals in March aimed at cutting the maximum vote-value disparity in the chamber to less than 2.0 times by changing demarcations in 42 districts in 17 prefectures, including the five prefectures.

The bill is expected to pass with support from the ruling coalition before it is sent to the opposition-controlled Upper House.