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Japan Top Court Finds NHK Fee System Constitutional (News)

Tokyo, Dec. 6 (Jiji Press)—Japan's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a provision of the Broadcast Act requiring television set owners to sign subscription contracts with Japan Broadcasting Corp., or NHK, is constitutional. It is the first time that the top court has made a judgment on the constitutionality of the law provision. The court's Grand Bench, led by Chief Justice Terada Itsurō, al…

Japan Top Court Rules Police GPS Tracking Without Warrant Illegal (News)

Tokyo, March 15 (Jiji Press)—Japan's Supreme Court found Wednesday that the police use of Global Positioning System devices without a court warrant in criminal investigations is illegal, in the first decision on the issue by the country's top court. "It is desirable for new legislation to be enacted" if GPS devices are to be used in police investigations, the court said, in the ruling on a thef…

High Court Decisions Augur Long Road to EqualityMuta Kazue

On December 16 last year, the Supreme Court delivered a ruling on a closely watched case regarding the right of spouses to maintain separate surnames after marriage. The plaintiffs in the case challenged the constitutionality of article 750 of the Civil Code, which requires one of the spouses to adopt the surname of the other. They held that the provision violated the couple’s rights, and also tha…

LDP Rebel Stands Firm on Addressing Vote Disparity

In July 2015, an amendment was passed to the Public Offices Election Act to reform the House of Councillors electoral system, which the Supreme Court has ruled as being in a “state of unconstitutionality” due to vote disparity. The compromise agreement still leaves significant regional disparities in the weight of one vote, however, prompting Waki Masashi to leave the LDP parliamentary group in protest. interviews the reform-minded upper house legislator.

Weighing Vote Disparity in Japan’s Upper HouseTakenaka Harukata

The House of Councillors has been criticized for being too powerful, undermining the policymaking efforts of the cabinet in a divided government and making Japan’s parliamentary democracy dysfunctional. It has also failed to heed the Supreme Court’s warnings to fundamentally rectify voting-power disparities between electoral districts. As a result, some are now beginning to question the legitimacy of the upper house.

Clock Ticking Down on Upper House ReformTsuchiya Hideo

The House of Councillors is currently in a state of unconstitutionality, and unless sweeping reforms are enacted quickly, next summer’s election will no doubt be judged to be unconstitutional.

Second-Generation Chief Justice a First for the Supreme CourtTsuchiya Hideo

New Chief Justice to the Supreme Court Terada Itsurō comes to the bench as cases on the constitutionality of Japan’s vote disparity reach the high court. All eyes are on how the former legal bureaucrat will rule.

The Value of a Vote: Addressing the Disparities in Japan’s Electoral SystemMizushima Asaho

For more than 50 years Japan has seen lawsuits against disparities in the value of voters’ ballots, with sparsely populated districts punching above their weight compared to crowded urban ones. The courts now appear to be moving to address this unconstitutional status. Is change afoot?

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