Rural voters in Japan have a larger influence than urban ones


Chizu, a mountain hamlet in Japan, tells a lot about how one political party has maintained a virtual monopoly on power for over seven decades. In western Japan, the village has been in decline for a long time. Its population has shrunk to 6,600, with over half of them being old. More than 15 years ago, the hospital’s obstetrics ward was shuttered. A year-end fair is no longer conducted since the once-dominant timber business has shrunk.
Despite this, the community erected a 12,000 sq ft library with a huge children’s area last year, thanks to a heavy dose of central government financing. In 2017, it built a new nursery school, and two years prior, the middle school was completely renovated. In addition, the village’s seldom used route is continuously upgraded by construction crews.
As voters prepare to vote for parliamentarians on Sunday (October 31st), Chizu residents are aware of the power behind this generosity. Local voting is more significant in Japan than urban voting. In other words, in a less populated area like Chizu, the number of seats in parliament is disproportionate, and there are more opportunities to raise concerns to national politicians.
This structure benefits the Conservative-Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has ruled Japan for nearly four years since 1955. The party is expected to win a majority in parliamentary elections, thanks in part to the local support that has been exposed to taxpayers’ money.
In some respects, the political environment in Japan’s rural areas resembles that of the United States, where each state has two senators regardless of population size, giving the Republican Party an outsized advantage due to its domination of rural states.
Tottori, Japan’s least populous prefecture, is home to Chizu. The member of Parliament for Chizu’s constituency serves less than half of the electors served by the lower house representative in Tokyo’s most densely populated district.
Critics argue that such differences, frequent in rural areas, violate the democratic concept of “one person, one vote” and have distorted Japan’s politics. Critics say that such inequality, common in local communities, is fundamentally inconsistent with the democratic principle of “one man, one vote” and distorts Japan’s political and domestic priorities Increase.


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