Regarding the Sept. 22 article “Ozawa positive about granting local voting rights to non-Japanese“: At first glance, the statement by Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party) that granting suffrage to non-Japanese residents could destabilize the nation seems to suggest that non-Japanese residents are not to be trusted and may be able to somehow twist the election process to suit their own needs.
Unlike Australia or the United States with their broad multicultural programs, Kokumin Shinto wants to keep Japan purely for Japanese citizens. There’s nothing wrong in that, but perhaps a more responsible — and less fear-mongering approach — would be to ensure that all eligible Japanese citizens vote in elections, which is the case in Australia, where voting in state and federal elections is compulsory.
After all, if a winning party garners 70 percent of the vote when only 56 percent of the electorate actually voted, then it definitely is not a true majority. If all eligible voters exercised their democratic right, then surely the vote of an absolute minority section of the population would not destabilize the nation.
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