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LDP group determined to block plan to enfranchise foreigners.

TOKYO, Dec. 13 Kyodo

A group of members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on Wednesday reconfirmed their determination to block a plan to give permanent non-Japanese residents the right to vote in local elections in the next regular Diet session.

The pledge was made at a meeting of key members of an LDP committee of Diet members against granting the rights. The committee is chaired by Seisuke Okuno, a House of Representatives member.

A bill to enfranchise foreigners was presented to a parliamentary committee in the last extraordinary Diet session, which ended Dec. 1.

But the ruling coalition, which is made up of the LDP, the New Komeito party and the New Conservative Party, decided to carry the bill over to the regular Diet session that starts in January, as they could not build a solid consensus, particularly within the LDP, LDP sources said.

Okuno told the meeting Wednesday, ''The New Komeito party is seeking the cooperation of some LDP members in enacting the legislation in exchange for support in elections.''

''The LDP's leadership appears likely to attempt to push through the bill in the next Diet session,'' he said.

Okuno's group is suggesting that non-Japanese residents should acquire Japanese nationality instead.

The proposed bill would allow foreigners with permanent resident status aged 20 or older who have been living in one municipality for at least three months the right to vote in local elections, without attaining nationality.

They would be allowed to vote in elections for municipal assembly members and the head of the municipality they live in. The bill would not make them eligible to run in municipal elections and they would be barred from voting nationally.

Okuno's group proposed, among other things, revising the citizenship law to make it easier for permanent residents, many of whom are Koreans, to acquire Japanese nationality.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Dec 18, 2000
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