KOFU, Yamanashi Pref. – The town assembly of Kobuchisawa, Yamanashi Prefecture, passed a revised bill Thursday enabling permanent foreign residents to vote in a plebiscite after a group of Korean residents protested.
In an extraordinary session, the assembly passed the bill to revise the town’s original plebiscite ordinance, established July 5, which granted voting rights only to Japanese residents over age 18, while 16 foreign residents were excluded in line with the Public Offices Election Law, town officials said.
But the ordinance triggered protests from members of the Tokyo-based, pro-Seoul Korean Residents Union in Japan (Mindan), which called for a revision.
In response, Mayor Ryuichi Suzuki apologized and promised a revision, admitting clerical errors were made when the ordinance was drafted.
Kobuchisawa will hold a plebiscite Aug. 22 on a proposed merger with Hokuto, a city that will be formed in the area Nov. 1 from seven other towns and villages.