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It’s time to give foreign residents the right to vote in local elections

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A weekend referendum on a proposal to reorganize Osaka’s administrative structure has highlighted a key question relevant to other local governments.

The question concerns the fact that foreign nationals are not allowed to vote in local elections no matter how long they have lived in Japan.

It is beyond reason that they cannot express their will over issues that their local communities face even if they live in this country like Japanese nationals, paying taxes and fulfilling other civic obligations.

The movement to allow foreign residents to vote in local elections has stalled over the past decade. But the ball should start rolling again.

The proposal is to reorganize Osaka into a metropolitan-style government by abolishing the city government and replacing it with four special wards similar to Tokyo’s 23 wards.

The law for establishing special wards in large cities, which provides legal grounds for the Nov. 1 referendum, stipulates that the provision concerning the right to vote in the Public Offices Election........

© The Asahi Shimbun

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