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POLITICS > Elections

Gov’t mulls online voting in national elections for citizens overseas

  • January 11, 2018
  • , Yomiuri evening edition , Lead story
  • JMH Translation

It was learned that the government is considering allowing “Internet voting” in national elections using computers or smartphones for Japanese citizens living abroad and crew members of ships navigating outside Japanese waters initially. It will conduct experiments on online voting for members of the Antarctic research team, who currently vote by fax.


While certain local governments already allow electronic voting at designated sites, the ban on IT voting in national elections has not been lifted due to concerns that “it would be difficult to ensure the legitimacy of elections.”


An experts’ panel created under the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in December is currently undertaking system design for the introduction of online voting. Strict steps will be taken to verify the identity of voters and revisions to the relevant laws are also being studied.


However, apart from identity fraud, there are still many issues that have to be resolved, including how to maintain the secrecy of votes and preservation of voting records.


The experts’ panel plans to look into the cases of foreign countries that already have online voting systems for reference. In the case of Estonia, which allows unlimited updating of votes before election day, the influence of media reports on voter behavior is likely to become an issue. (Abridged)

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