ordinary session of the Diet is extended. One more focal point lies in a bill
to revise the Public Offices Election Act. The bill is to introduce a fixed
name listing method in to the proportional representation framework of the
House of Councilors so that a specific candidate should be elected preferentially.
It is partial, special program. A justifiable element is absent and the
revision only favors the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). We must not
accept the LDP’s tactics to seek for own convenience.
REVISION TO RULING LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY
revision is to increase the current 242 seats in the House of Councilors to 248
by adding six seats in order to rectify a gap of one vote yielded in the
existing system. The bill was presented by the ruling LDP and debates began on
for the constituency, the merged districts of ‘Tottori-Shimane Prefectures’ and
‘Tokushima-Kochi Prefectures’ remain intact, and two more seats are to be added
in the Saitama Prefecture where the number of electorate per MP is the biggest.
As for the proportional representation channel, four seats are to be added and
a partial, special framework is provided by introducing a fixed formula of name
the Light of LDP’s Constitution Amendment
reform is a response to a decision of the Supreme Court that defines as
unconstitutional the gap of one vote found in the result of the 2013 election
for the House of Councilors. In 2015 the Election Act was revised to introduce
a merged constituency beyond the prefecture boundaries and simultaneously an
additional rule was given that ‘a drastic review should be made to reach a
final decision without fail to cope with the 2019 Upper House election’.
time is up. But the LDP’s point is inconsistent. The LDP stipulated that each
prefecture should have at least one representative in their draft text of
constitution amendment released March this year. It proposed termination of the
mergers which disregard prefectural borders.
New Socialist Party (NSP) criticized the LDP’s position because it ‘denies and
renounces a fact that a member of the House of Councilors represents people of Japan’. The
recent LDP’s announcement, however, is to retain the merged constituencies. How
can it comply with their amendment plan?
for providing a special framework in the proportional representation channel, more
dubious points are found. The current proportional system employs an open list
method in which candidates are lined at random and are elected as MPs by the
number of votes they personally have won. This is a non-restrained method in
which a political party does not rank candidates. But the LDP proposes now a restrained
formula by which ranking is set in advance so that specific, assigned candidates
can win a seat. This system is to be employed partially.
a candidate is lost in the constituency and is fielded on the proportional
representation stage, that is all right. However, the revision is aimed so that
assigned candidates should win a seat without fail in the proportional channel.
This deviates from a democratic course.
addition, the LDP proposes that the four seats coming from the merged
constituencies of the prefectures of Kochi/Tokushima and Tottori/Shimane should
be converted to an increase of four seats (two seats in each constituency)
without disturbing the current proportional framework. This is absurd.
revision that LDP tries is to observe the existing proportional representation system
and invent a scheme in which a candidate who loses in the merged constituencies
can win a seat without fail.
are necessary to reform the election system, including the distinctive feature
of the House of Councilors. The Upper House is seen as ‘legislature of wisdom’
and ‘legislature of reconsideration’. But in reality it is the same as the
House of Representatives in terms of party rivalry. The former is a copy of the
latter they criticize.
are needed from a viewpoint of a medium-longer time span. Reforms should be
made so that the two Houses can assure own characteristics that can deserve to
be the supreme body of state’s power.