National / Politics

Lawsuits filed to nullify Lower House election over vote-value disparity

JIJI

A group of lawyers filed lawsuits seeking to invalidate the results of Sunday’s Lower House election for all 289 single-seat districts.

The group, led by Hidetoshi Masunaga, claimed the election was unconstitutional in terms of vote-value disparities.

The lawyers said the election was invalid because it violated the equality of vote values guaranteed by the Constitution.

The lawsuits were filed with 14 high courts and high court branches across the country. Another lawyer group, led by Kuniaki Yamaguchi, filed a similar lawsuit with the Hiroshima High Court.

“Due to the inequality in the value of votes, a small number of voters elected a large number of lawmakers,” Masunaga told a news conference.

The vote-value disparity “helps only a few nationals to establish laws and revise the Constitution,” leading to an “intolerable” situation, he said.

The Tokyo No. 13 district had the largest number of registered voters, at some 472,400, in Sunday’s election, while the No. 1 district in Tottori Prefecture had the lowest, at some 238,700, according to election administration commissions across the country. The two electoral districts had a vote-value gap of 1.97 times.

The Supreme Court has found that the previous Lower House election in 2014, with a maximum vote-value disparity of 2.13 times, was conducted in a state of unconstitutionality.

After the ruling, legislation took effect in July to remove one seat each in Aomori, Iwate, Mie, Nara, Kumamoto and Kagoshima prefectures.

The law also rezoned 97 districts in 19 prefectures.