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One of the most contentious issues in Japanese politics is the differential between voting power in rural and urban areas. This is a legacy of the post-War US Occupation. General MacArthur and his staff drew up districts that favored conservative rural areas at the expense of more liberal cities. The purpose was to thwart the spread of communism. One result of that is the conservative, pro-American Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) goes into any and every national election with a huge built-in advantage. A group of lawyers and activists squawk and sue following every election - as they are now doing after Prime Minster Abe and his party handily won several weeks ago - but have been stymied by conservative courts.
That difference in the most recent election can be found below. Of the forty-seven Japanese prefectures, one voter in barely populated Tottori was equal to almost 5 in Hokkaido. That is, if the number of registered voters in Tottori divided by voting districts in the prefecture is set at 1, in Hokkaido the ratio would be 4.77. Thus, the voters in Tottori and other rural areas have a disproportionate say in national government.
1) Hokkaido: 4.77
2) Hyogo: 4.71
3) Tokyo: 4.47
4) Fukuoka: 4.27
43) Tokushima: 1.35
44) Fukui: 1.35
45) Kochi: 1,30
46) Shimane: 1.22
47) Tottori: 1
Source: Asahi Shinbun
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Sunday, July 28, 2013
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