The Enfranchisement of Foreign Residents: Nationality versus Affectedness

One important aspect of globalization is characterized by the movement of people across national and international borders, which could undermine the legitimacy of social systems and institutions that have existed within, and relied upon, the nation state. The enfranchisement of foreign immigrants is undoubtedly one of the challenges faced by countries because of the pressure of migration. Some countries grant foreign residents the right to vote in local elections without their having to complete formal naturalization, while others require them to become naturalized citizens before they can vote. This paper examines the structure and conditions under which the enfranchisement of foreign residents can or cannot be reconciled with the premises of the nation state. Using Japanese law as an example, two models of enfranchisement are compared: enfranchisement by nationality and enfranchisement by affectedness.