NAGOYA--The Nagoya High Court on Feb. 7 ruled that the vote-value disparity put the 2017 Lower House election in a “state of unconstitutionality” but rejected lawyers’ demands that the poll results be nullified.

The ruling was the 10th concerning the comparative values of one vote in the most and least populous constituencies in the Lower House election held on Oct. 22, 2017.

However, it was the first ruling that said that the election, with a vote-value disparity of 1.98, was held in a state of unconstitutionality.

The group of lawyers, headed by Hidetoshi Masunaga, has filed lawsuits with 14 high courts or high court branches throughout the country, arguing that the vote-value gap in the 2017 election was unconstitutional and that the results should be nullified. The previous nine rulings said the election was constitutional.

The lawsuit filed with the Nagoya High Court concerned all 24 constituencies in three prefectures in the Tokai region.

The Supreme Court has ruled that Lower House elections held in 2009, 2012 and 2014 were held in states of unconstitutionality because one vote in the least populous constituency was worth more the twice the value of one vote in the most populous constituency.

In response to the rulings, the Diet enacted a law to reduce the number of Lower House seats by six. Based on the law, 97 constituencies in 19 prefectures, including Tokyo, were rezoned for the 2017 election.

As a result, the largest vote-value disparity in the 2017 Lower House election declined to 1.98.

It was the first time for the biggest gap to fall below two times since single-seat constituencies were introduced in Lower House elections in 1996.