(Asahi: February 9, 2016 – p. 3)
In connection with the reform of the House of Representatives electoral system recommended by an advisory panel to the speaker of the Lower House, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Sadakazu Tanigaki and other senior officials on Feb. 8 to review the LDP’s draft plan and indicate the implementation of the reduction of the total number seats in the Lower House. The party’s original plan called for postponing the reduction. Ahead of Feb. 10 when the LDP will begin full-scale discussions on the issue, Abe urged the officials not to put together a draft that could be viewed as negative toward electoral system reform.
The main points proposed by the advisory panel include the introduction of the so-called Adams method, which reviews the allocation of seats to each prefecture based on population, and a review of the rezoning of electoral districts every five years; and reducing the number of seats in single-seat districts by six and the proportional representation segments by four.
However, the LDP draft plan put together by Hiroyuki Hosoda, the head of the LDP headquarters on electoral system reform issues, proposes prioritizing the review of the rezoning of the electoral districts, while putting off the introduction of the Adams method and reduction in the number of Lower House seats. There are gaps between the LDP’s draft reform plan and the position of Abe, who has stressed at the Diet that the recommendations should be respected.
The meeting was held on Feb. 8 at the suggestion of Abe. Attending the meeting were Hosoda, Tanigaki, and Election Strategy Committee Chairman Toshimitsu Motegi. (Abridged)