Participation of Minorities

Japan’s Electoral Law used to deprived people under adult guardianship of their right to vote and to stand for elections. In 2013, there was a significant court case of which the Tokyo District Court judged this relevant article unconstitutional. As a result, the Parliament swiftly, in only 74 days after the ruling, repealed the discriminatory article 11.1.1, which led to the enfranchisement of more than 136,000 persons under guardianship.

However, the Constitution still deprives rights to vote from some groups of people, such as those Koreans who are treated as holders of special permanent resident status, which still remain around 400,000 such residents in Japan. Voters who have committed crimes and are imprisoned are denied the right to vote (article 11, section 1), and as well as those who have committed election law violations (article 252).

On Polling Day, the voters who are physically handicapped and cannot write the name or who are illiterate can ask the supervising officer to cast a vote for them (article 48). Those voters who have serious physical handicap can cast a vote through mail (article 49, section 2).


Zero Project, Japan’s Revision of the Election Law, 2013,

Nagase Osamu, Deprivation of voting rights found unconstitutional in Japan, March 14, 2013,

Resources :

Link : Japan LGBT candidate hopes to raise awareness in election campaign (Reuters: 2014)

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