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A senior New Komeito member said Sunday he opposes the proposal by a senior Liberal Democratic Party member to grant the right to vote in local elections only to permanent residents in Japan from the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan.

Speaking on a Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) debate program, New Komeito Secretary General Tetsuzo Fuyushiba said he believes foreign suffrage in local elections should not be given only to certain nationalities.

LDP Secretary General Hiromu Nonaka has proposed granting voting rights only to permanent Korean and Taiwan residents of Japan and their descendants, reflecting opposition within the LDP to granting blanket suffrage in local elections to permanent residents.

Sunday’s comments by Fuyushiba mark the first time for a senior New Komeito member to voice opposition to Nonaka’s idea, which opposition parties have already rejected.

New Komeito makes up the ruling bloc with the LDP and the New Conservative Party.

The issue of voting rights for foreigners is being discussed in a 72-day extraordinary Diet session that convened Thursday.

Fuyushiba said he might consider Nonaka’s proposal if a majority of lawmakers support it during Diet deliberations.

However, a senior New Komeito member told reporters the same day that the Diet should hold deliberations on a bill the party and the New Conservative Party jointly submitted to an extraordinary session in July.

This bill calls for granting suffrage to foreigners allowed to live permanently in Japan under the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law as well as the 520,000 permanent residents in Japan from Korea and Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Koji Omi, acting secretary general of the LDP, said it will take more time for LDP lawmakers to coordinate views over the issue.

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