JCP Ichida opposes Diet seat reduction

May 24, 2012

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi on May 23 expressed his objection to the ruling Democratic Party’s intention to rush to reach an agreement on a reduction in the number of Diet seats.

At a meeting with the secretary generals of other parties, Ichida said, “We should not feel that we must hasten to reach an agreement before the end of the current Diet session.”

“Diet seats are not the personal belongings of parliamentarians. They represent sovereign members. If the DPJ wants to cut wasteful use of tax money on government, government subsidies to political parties must be cut first and not Diet seats,” said Ichida.

On the same day, all unsworn witnesses to a special committee meeting on political ethics and the election system in the Lower House expressed criticism or concerns over the DPJ’s plan to reduce the number of Diet seats by 80.

Igarashi Jin, professor at the Ohara Institute for Social Research at Hosei University, criticized the ruling party’s proposal as disenfranchising the rights of voters.

Tanaka Zen’ichiro, professor emeritus at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, said, “No one who voted for the DPJ would support their policy to cut proportional representation seats by 80.”

Both Igarashi and Tanaka referred to the single-seat constituency system’s failure to properly reflect public opinion. They pointed out that a party can obtain more than 70% of seats in single-seat constituencies by receiving less than 50% of votes cast and that in the 2010 Upper House election, the number of votes some parties received reversed the number of their Diet seats. “It is a flawed election system with a fundamental distortion of public opinion”, said Igarashi.

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