Nagoya Sparks Japan’s Political Reforms 日本の政治改革に火をつける名古屋

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The Tunisian people’s pro-democracy rallies that eventually lead to political change in Egypt have now spread farther across the Arab nations.

Peoples’ common global political frustration is the result of inherent government corruption of congress members and government officials who tightly grip their vested interests.

Japanese people are also critical about their government employees, whose salaries are more than 1.5 times higher than the average of private company workers’.

In Japan, at the general election held two years ago the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) rose to power defeating the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which had been essentially governing since 1955. 

In the last general election the DPJ promised that Japan’s financial deficit would be curtailed by decreasing the number of congress members and government workers and reviewing how tax payer’s money is spent, while leaving the consumption tax at its present rate.

However, they could not follow through, and the DPJ has lost people’s trust along the way while planning to raise the consumption tax.

In the midst of disappointment the city of Nagoya stands tall in the spotlight. 

During the Nagoya city election of April 2009, Mr. Takashi Kawamura advocated a permanent 10% residential tax cut and for assembly members be volunteers, and was successfully elected.                                                         

After being elected, Mayor Kawamura immediately cut his annual mayoral salary of 23 million yen down to 8 million yen.    

He then pressed the assembly members for many reforms, including an annual salary cut of 50%, from 16 to 8 million yen.

However, confronted by the mayor, the assembly members criticized his tax cuts in lieu of the city’s 1.8 trillion yen debt-load, while also bashing his attack on public workers and themselves as a popularity contest.                                                

Citizens who supported Mayor Kawamura requested the dissolution of the assembly which was only to be recalled after a February 6th election.

Kawamura then temporarily resigned as Mayor, once again appealing to the citizens when he said, “Assembly members and officials should fundamentally be volunteers who serve society, but their position has become a vested interest.”

He was overwhelmingly reelected in the mayoral election held on the very same day.

Furthermore, Osaka’s Governor Toru Hashimoto also continues to carry out aggressive reform, reducing their government employees’ salaries by 10%.

Yamatsuri Town, Fukushima is highly reputed for its bold reforms, including the drastic reduction of the number of assembly members from 18 to 10, and for replacing their annual salaries with a 30,000 yen payment per assembly meeting attended.

With nationwide local elections scheduled for this April, political reform will soon be starting across Japan.

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