140 Constituencies to Be Reviewed for Japan’s Lower House

A general view shows a parliamentary session at the Lower House of Parliament in Tokyo, Japan November 10, 2021. Picture taken with slow shutter speed.

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—A record 140 single-seat constituencies in a record 25 prefectures will come under review for Japan’s House of Representatives, the lower chamber of parliament, according to a proposal made by a government panel on Thursday.

The proposal for redrawing electoral zones is based on a planned Lower House electoral reform in which 10 seats in single-seat constituencies will be reallocated to correct gaps in the value of votes. The proposal will affect nearly half of the Lower House’s 289 single-seat constituencies.

The panel had been discussing ways to keep the vote-value disparity between the least populous single-seat constituency and the most populous district below two times, based on the 2020 census results. The gap will narrow to 1.999 from 2.096 under the proposal.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that the government plans to submit a bill aimed at putting the proposal into action to an extraordinary parliamentary session to be convened this autumn.

Under the proposal, an additional five seats will be allocated to Tokyo, two to Kanagawa Prefecture and one each to Saitama, Chiba and Aichi prefectures.

On the other hand, one seat will be removed from Miyagi, Fukushima, Niigata, Shiga, Wakayama, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Ehime and Nagasaki prefectures.

The country will also review electoral zones in 10 prefectures without changing the number of seats, including Hokkaido, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka, where vote-value gaps exceed two times in some constituencies.

The proposal is the fourth of its kind ever since Japan introduced the combination of single-seat constituencies and proportional representation for the Lower House in 1994. Electoral zones were last reviewed in 2017, when 97 constituencies in 19 prefectures were affected.