Restriction on Justice Review Voting Abroad Ruled Unconstitutional Again


Tokyo, June 25 (Jiji Press)--Upholding a lower court judgment, Tokyo High Court ruled Thursday that it was unconstitutional for Japanese nationals living aboard not to be allowed to vote on whether justices of Japan's Supreme Court are qualified for the job.

Presiding Judge Jun Abe also ruled that it would be illegal if Japanese expatriates could not exercise their right to cast such votes at the time of the next general election. Voting on the top court justice review is one of the Japanese citizens' rights stipulated by the country's Constitution.

In the lawsuit, the Japanese government argued that there is not enough time to prepare and send ballots abroad for voting by expatriates. However, the judge said that the technical issues were all but resolved after revisions to a related law made it possible to prepare ballots before the election period officially begins.

"As with elections at home, it is now very much possible to conduct the vote at diplomatic establishments abroad," he said.

He added that "it is difficult to say that it was unavoidable" for Japanese nationals abroad to not be able to cast a vote on the review of Supreme Court justices as of 2017, when such a vote was held simultaneously with a general election for the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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