New Komeito and the Liberal Party will jointly submit to the current Diet session a bill to grant foreign permanent residents of Japan the right to vote in local polls, New Komeito Secretary General Tetsuzo Fuyushiba said Monday.

The Liberal Democratic Party, which has taken a cautious stance on the issue, has consented to the move, he added.

New Komeito, which has already drawn up a suffrage bill, has been demanding that the coalition submit it together with the bill to reduce the number of Lower House seats by 20.

In the face of persistent opposition to the suffrage bill from some LDP legislators, New Komeito has said it will submit it jointly with the Liberal Party, which supports the idea.

Apparently giving up on internal consensus on the issue, LDP Secretary General Yoshiro Mori conveyed his party’s decision not to oppose the two parties’ move to submit the bill on their own.

At their meeting in Tokyo Saturday, a group of Japanese and South Korean lawmakers adopted a statement pledging efforts to realize voting rights for Korean residents of Japan, who constitute most of the foreign residents with permanent status.

Park Tae Joon, head of the South Korea-Japan lawmakers’ league, urged legislation to grant permanent Korean residents of Japan the right to vote in local elections, calling it the most important bilateral issue facing the league.

New Komeito Diet affairs chief Shozo Kusakawa pledged that the ruling coalition will do its utmost to settle the matter by the end of March.

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