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New mayor promises to improve Higashi Osaka residents' living standards
Supported by the Association for a Bright Higashiosaka City, Japanese Communist Party member and former mayor Nagao Junzo, 54, won the July 2 mayoral election in Higashiosaka City with a population of about 510,000, beating incumbent Matsumi Masanobu, 63, backed by the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties.
The major points at issue were how to improve residents' living conditions and put an end to the city administration that succumbed to the special-interest group called Kaido (Buraku Liberation League), an influential racketeer group that falsely accuses the city of discriminating against what they call "Buraku" people).
Focus on residents' better living conditions
In Higashiosaka City, residents were furious about the drastic increase in residential tax and national health insurance premiums that began in June. "Does the city seek senior citizens' early deaths?" a resident said.
"When the residents are voicing anger against the increases," Nagao said, "it is unacceptable to impose additional burdens in the name of 'reform.' I will establish a city government that uses tax money for the residents' well-being instead of wasting it."
Nagao promised to reduce residents' share of the cost for the national health and nursing-care insurances premiums, improve the environment of parks and child-care centers, and introduce a community bus service.
In sharp contrast, Matsumi praised himself for what he did as the mayor in the name of "reform" that cut public services and forced residents to shoulder heavier burdens in line with Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro's "structural reform" policy. What's more, Matsumi has been planning to increase rental fees for public facilities and fees for child-care facilities and promoting a plan to construct a city water and sewer commission building that costs about 2.4 billion yen in disregard of many people's opposition.
End interest group-prone city administration
Matsumi ran the city administration in conformity with Kaido (or the Buraku Liberation League) and corruption prevailed in the city office.
Nagao pledged to voters that he will replace this administration with a fair administration for all residents.
No to Koizumi's 'reform' policy
Nagao was first elected as mayor eight years ago and made efforts to build a sound and just administration in the residents' interests. But he failed to secure his second term in the mayoral election four years ago in the face of fierce anti-JCP attacks from Matsumi as well as the LDP and the Komei Party saying, "A JCP-led city government is incompetent."
The Matsumi camp, with help from former LDP Secretary General Koga Makoto, again in this election campaign launched anti-JCP attacks.
Expressing his determination, Nagao said, "This victory is a Higashiosaka residents' negative verdict on the Koizumi's 'structural reform' policy. I will work hard to fulfill my public promises."
- Akahata, July 4, 2006
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