Naoto Kan, president of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, unveiled Wednesday a set of political reforms that includes downsizing the Diet and narrowing the disparity in vote value for single-seat constituencies.
Speaking at the Japan National Press Club, Kan said he would also like to lower the voting age to 18 from 20. He said he might include some of the measures in the DPJ’s official policy manifesto for the next general election.
“The 180 seats in the House of Representatives (for lawmakers elected in) the proportional representation system can be trimmed to about 100,” he said.
The Lower House has 480 seats. The other 300 seats are for members elected in single-seat constituencies.
Kan said the ratio of members elected in single-seat constituencies to those from proportional representation in the lower chamber should be increased to enable the public to change an administration more easily.
Public and private organizations are downsizing to survive, and lawmakers should not be exempt from the trend, Kan said.
Disparity in the value of individual votes in different electoral districts “should be within the range of two,” Kan said. As an example of the disparity in vote values, in the next Lower House elections a vote in one of the least-populated districts will be worth 2.14 times more than a vote in one of the biggest.
Kan said that if the DPJ won the next general election after a planned merger with the Liberal Party he would appoint current Liberal Party leader Ichiro Ozawa as a Cabinet member.
The DPJ has 115 seats in the Lower House.