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The Supreme Court on Oct. 17 ruled that in the Upper House election held in July 2010, the value of a vote between depopulated rural areas and populated urban areas was extremely unequal to the point of “giving rise to an issue of unconstitutionality.” Although the ruling stopped short of declaring the election results unconstitutional, the Diet must act quickly to rectify the vote-value disparity.

The top court provided concrete suggestions concerning how to reduce the disparity so that the will of the electorate will be more closely reflected in Upper House elections. It said that increasing the number of seats in some prefectures and decreasing that in other prefectures will not suffice. (An Upper House election combines electoral districts and nationwide proportional representation. Each prefecture serves as an electoral district).

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