Local assemblies are dysfunctional without JCP

Akahata of April 6 reported on how local assemblies are dysfunctional if they are dominated by an "all-are-ruling-parties" system.

Local assemblies in which the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties are the predominant forces with the Democratic and Liberal parties cooperating, tend to collude with prefectural bureaucracy and pay little attention to serious legislative discussions of budgets and other important issues.

For example, the daily Asahi Shimbun of February 26 criticized the Yamagata Prefectural Assembly under the "all-are-ruling-parties" system, excluding the Japanese Communist Party, for being concerned only with "smooth assembly steering."

The assembly is run by three dominant groups based on what they agreed upon behind closed doors. In the last four years, no proposal from the prefectural government has been rejected in a plenary session. A senior assembly member said, "A plenary session is just a rubber stamp."

Things are even worse in assemblies with no JCP seats. In the Shimane Prefectural Assembly, no discussion has ever taken place in the last twelve regular plenary sessions. All bills had a "free passage," with all members rising for a vote of "yes."

Assemblies of major cities also show similar decadence under the domination of all parties except the JCP. In the Sapporo City Assembly, many assembly members just read aloud question papers which the city bureaucrats prepare for them.

Akahata said that for assemblies to function properly in watching and controlling administrative authorities, a JCP advance in elections is essential.

In the Hyogo Prefectural Assembly after the JCP increased seats from seven to 14 in the 1999 prefectural assembly election, the JCP forced the prefecture into giving up four large wasteful development projects, saving 247 billion yen. The JCP in the Aichi Prefectural Assembly played an important role in revoking the adverse revision of the medical system which would cut off people on welfare.

Akahata pointed out that citizens' criticism of corrupt politics serving the interests of large corporations are now increasing, and a new current calling for a new local politics is taking place among residents. Akahata said that the JCP should be at the core of this current. (end)

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