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Friday, June 24, 2011

Democratic Party of Japan Supporters Unable to Vote in Upcoming Party Election

民主党サポータは党内選挙に投票できず

The Democratic Party of Japan - aka "Minshuto" in Japanese - is not allowing its "supporters" the right to vote in the upcoming Party election.

The Party is the current ruling party, and the election will determine the next prime minister of Japan, once current PM Naoto Kan at long last resigns.

For those who support and want to participate in Party decisions, two options exist: become a "Party Member"(党員)or "Supporter"(サポータ).

The former costs 6,000 yen a year and allows one the right vote in Party elections and participate in annual Party meetings. The later is 2,000 yen a year and confers the right to vote in Party elections but not attend meetings.

For both, non-Japanese citizens with a permanent residence visa are allowed to join, which allows among others many of Japan's Korean residents to participate. The minimum age requirement is 18.

Following the resignation last July of Yukio Hatoyama, we went to the Kyoto Minshuto office and signed up. A young man explained that supporters and members are not permitted to vote in the first election following registration. In other words, we would have to wait until the second election - which will be sometime this summer after Kan resigns.

However, thanks to a visit from a lackey at the office of our local representative's office, we recently learned that, no, supporters would not be allowed to vote in the upcoming election because the "administrative procedures would not be ready."

Why not, we asked? The election is not for several months.

"The situation is a bit difficult," replied the grim-faced young man in his politician-to-be suit, shoes, and hair cut.

Difficult is Japan almost always means "impossible," and in effect ends a conversation.

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