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Court rulings on disparity of votes let reluctant Diet off the hook

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Most of the High Court rulings on the vote-value disparity cases concerning the July Upper House election have declared the election to be constitutional despite the disparity being as high as 3.00.

There were 16 constitutionality lawsuits filed by two groups of lawyers in 14 high courts or their branches around Japan over the disparity in the value of a vote cast in the least and most populous constituency. Of these, two decisions have said the election was held in “a state of unconstitutionality” as it violated the principle of equality.

But the remaining 14 adjudged the vote to be constitutional.

Many of these 14 rulings praised the narrowing of the vote value gap from 3.08 for the Upper House election three years ago. They also took a positive view of the fact that the remedial measure of combining two prefectural constituencies with a relatively small population into one has been maintained despite criticism from the affected local governments.

These rulings are outrageously lenient toward the Diet, which has done little to tackle this important problem.

The maximum disparity of 3.00 in the number of voters per representation means some Japanese people’s votes have only one-third the weight of those cast by some others.


© The Asahi Shimbun