1票の格差違憲 立法府は司法の警告に応えよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 8, 2013)
Diet must correct disparities in value of votes
1票の格差違憲 立法府は司法の警告に応えよ(3月7日付・読売社説)

Once again, a severe judgment has been handed down against the Diet, which keeps on failing to correct disparities in the value of votes.

The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday said the December House of Representatives election, in which votes in some constituencies carried up to 2.43 times the weight of votes in other constituencies, was unconstitutional, as it violated the Constitution’s stipulation of people’s equality under the law.

The Diet has had ample time to correct the disparities, but it took no effective measures before carrying out the election. The high court criticized the Diet’s inaction, calling it a lapse that cannot be overlooked.

Lawmakers must take the court ruling seriously and correct the disparities without further delay.

The latest ruling was handed down in light of a decision made by the Grand Bench of the Supreme Court in March 2011.

In that ruling, the top court said that the 2009 lower house election, when the maximum disparity was 2.30, was held under a considerably unequal situation. However, it stopped short of declaring it unconstitutional, instead judging it to be in a “state of unconstitutionality.” The court explained this by saying, “A reasonable time period to correct the disparities has not yet elapsed.”


No measures taken

During the extraordinary Diet session, the ruling and opposition parties made a legal revision to cut five lower house seats by scrapping five single-seat constituencies. However, a review of electoral districts based on the law was not made in time for the December election, which was thus held in the unconstitutional state.

Despite the warning from the Supreme Court, correction of the disparities in vote values did not progress. The Tokyo High Court did not declare the election invalid, but its decision surely goes farther than the 2011 Supreme Court ruling.

Similar cases are currently being tried at 14 high courts and branches throughout the country. All of the rulings are scheduled to be handed down within this month.

The Public Offices Election Law requires a court to try to hand down a ruling within 100 days after a suit is filed. Although there have been past cases in which it took more than half a year for courts to hand down decisions, courts are now following the rule, thus urging the Diet to take swift corrective action.


Division of ultimate power

The group of lawyers who filed the latest suit argued, based in part on the Constitution’s preamble that “sovereign power resides with the people,” that the vote of one person holding such power should be strictly equal to the votes of others.

The Tokyo High Court rejected this claim, but it will be a focal point in subsequent rulings to come.

Members of the ruling and opposition parties said, “We will take the ruling seriously,” or “The ruling includes condemnation of the legislative branch of the government.” These are natural responses. Lawmakers must take concrete action to improve the situation.

The Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the Democratic Party of Japan have agreed to carry out a drastic review of the lower house election system, including reduction of lower house seats, during the current Diet session. However, work to realize the agreement has been slow. Since the election system affects the rise and fall of political parties, it must face twists and turns for the parties to reach an agreement on concrete measures.

However, they have little time. Further negligence is simply unacceptable, as it erodes the very authority of the Diet as the legislative branch.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 7, 2013)
(2013年3月7日01時21分 読売新聞)


srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク



WordPress.com ロゴ

WordPress.com アカウントを使ってコメントしています。 ログアウト /  変更 )

Google+ フォト

Google+ アカウントを使ってコメントしています。 ログアウト /  変更 )

Twitter 画像

Twitter アカウントを使ってコメントしています。 ログアウト /  変更 )

Facebook の写真

Facebook アカウントを使ってコメントしています。 ログアウト /  変更 )


%s と連携中

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.