The Supreme Court on Nov. 20 ruled that the 2012 Lower House election was “in a state of unconstitutionality” due to large disparities in vote value among constituencies. It stopped short of declaring the election outright unconstitutional by adopting a nuanced phrase of “in a state of unconstitutionality” and refrained from invalidating the election results. But the Diet and the government should not use the ruling as an excuse for inaction. Instead they should immediately start working out a way to drastically reduce disparities in vote values.

Two groups of lawyers had filed the lawsuit contending that the Lower House election held in December 2012 should be declared unconstitutional since the gap in the value of a vote between depopulated rural areas and populated urban areas grew to a maximum 2.43 to 1, the highest in a decade. The election returned the Liberal Democratic Party to power.

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