Foreign voting debate
It seems probable that when LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba says "we have to consider the interest of Japanese taxpayers across the country" in “Foreign voting debate rekindled as Abe tries to attract labor,” (Japan Times, Thursday, August 21, 2014) his intention is to divide Japanese from non-Japanese by using citizenship as a wedge: separate Japanese citizen taxpayers from non-citizen taxpayers - people like me - in the belief that my interests are separate from or at least different from Japanese citizens' interests. But that's not the case. When I consider the word "Japanese" as an adjective describing place rather than a noun describing identity I easily consider myself a Japanese taxpayer. I live here. I pay taxes here. I've spent half my life in this country. I will die here. Therefore Japan is my country and I am a Japanese taxpayer whose interests easily synchronize with those of (most) citizen residents. Giving the vote to tax-paying permanent residents like me will not promote a subversive fifth column in society that empowers foreign interests here while simultaneously undermining Japanese sovereignty. That’s unduly paranoid. “The fear that foreigners could vote against the Japanese interest” is a fear that will immediately melt in the light of intelligent reason because my interests are the same as Japanese citizens’ interests, and clear thinking should make that obvious. But, sadly, I do not expect clear thinking or intelligent reason from those in whose hands the matter rests.
On another note, I must ask if it is inappropriate for me to be able to have a voice in the disposition of my tax yen at the hands of public servants - like the Prime Minister - who are, in effect, my employees, even though I am not a citizen. Imagine the state as a corporation and all taxpayers as shareholders. Giving us seats and a voice at the shareholders meeting will probably turn out to be a surprisingly smart move.
Incidentally, I cannot vote in any country in the world. I’ve heard about democracy all my life but I’ve never experienced it. I’m not a citizen here, so I can’t vote in Japan. I’ve lived abroad so long that I’ve lost the right to vote in my home country, Canada. And through timing and circumstances I never voted there anyway. Now I’m middle aged and I’m still waiting to vote. America likes to attack and invade everywhere and everyone, claiming after the fact that no matter how badly it went wrong it was nevertheless a virtuous and well-intentioned plan for democratization. Maybe we should petition the U.S. President to rescue us.