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OSAKA — Foreigners with permanent resident status will get to vote in a plebiscite approved Wednesday by the Takaishi Municipal Assembly in Osaka Prefecture on whether the municipality should merge with the neighboring city of Sakai.

The city assembly passed a proposed ordinance initiated by Mayor Tamezo Terada to assess Takaishi residents’ views about the plan to merge with Sakai by March 2005.

The assembly’s committee in charge of general and educational affairs revised the proposal to allow resident foreigners to take part in the merger referendum.

There are some 300 foreigners in Takaishi who meet the eligibility requirements of being 20 or over and having lived in the city for at least three months, according to municipal officials.

In April, the town of Maihara, Shiga Prefecture, held the first plebiscite in which foreign permanent residents could vote. Twenty foreign residents from five countries registered to vote in the Maihara poll, and 13 actually cast ballots.

Foreign residents are not allowed to participate in national or local elections.

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