Procedures for the Registration of Voters
A municipal election management committee is empowered to register ex-office a Japanese 18 years of age and older who has a residence within the area of the municipality concerned and whose name has been on record in the Basic Registration Book of Inhabitants of said municipality for more than three months successively from the day of registration on the Book, or from, for a person who has newly moved into the municipality, the day when the transmission of registry is made. (Art. 21). There are two types of registration ; one is a quarterly registration made in March, June, September and December, and the other specially conducted for each election (Art. 19 and 22). On the other hand, the registration on overseas voters list is made based on requests (Art. 30-4).
(2) Exhibition, Formal Objections, and Lawsuits
After registration, the election management committee of each municipality is required to make open to the public, voters’ names, addresses and the dates of birth registered on the list (Art. 23). When a voter has an objection in regard to his/her own registration or that of others, he/she may lodge an objection with the municipal election management committee concerned during the period of exhibition (Art. 24). Those who are not satisfied with the ruling on their objection can resort to a lawsuit (Art. 25).
(3) Indication and Nullification
In case a voter is disenfranchised according to the legal provisions, or a voter has moved out of a certain municipality, the municipal election management committee concerned has to immediately make an indication to that effect on the voters list. A municipal election management committee must delete the name of a voter from the list as soon as possible if he/she dies, has lost Japanese nationality, or has transferred residence from the municipality concerned for four consecutive months (Art. 28).
Permanent Voters List
Those who are not registered on the voters list may not cast a ballot even though they have suffrage (Art. 42 of the Election Law). The voters list is prepared and kept in the custody of the election management committee of each municipality. In the list, the name, address, gender, date of birth, etc. of each voter must be included (Art. 20). Once a voter is registered on the list, the registration remains permanently valid until he/she is removed from the list owing to his/her death, loss of nationality, or the lapse of 4 months after his/her removal to another municipality.
A Japanese citizen over 18 years old who lives within the area over which the consulate controlling his/her address exercises jurisdiction may apply for registration on overseas voters list (Art. 30-5). He/she may be registered on the list when he/she lives within the area over which the consulate controlling his/her address exercises jurisdiction for at least these months successively (Art. 30-4).
Election System in Japan, Local Governance (Policy Making and Civil Society), 2007, http://www.parliament.am/library/norelectoral%20law/chaponia.pdf.