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Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clearly indicated Tuesday that he would like to see a bill granting suffrage at the local level to permanent foreign residents of Japan, debated in the extraordinary Diet session to begin Thursday.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which Mori heads, is split over the controversial bill, which would enable permanent foreign residents, many of whom are Koreans, the right to vote in local-level elections.

“I realize that there is a wide range of views on the issue, but I would very much like to see the bill debated (during the upcoming Diet session),” Mori told a gathering of top officials of the party’s regional chapters at the LDP’s headquarters in Tokyo.

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