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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 December 12 - 18  > Presence of JCP brings about progressive changes in prefectural assemblies
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2018 December 12 - 18 [JCP]

Presence of JCP brings about progressive changes in prefectural assemblies

December 17, 2018

The Japanese Communist Party in the 2015 nationwide simultaneous local elections regained its seat in seven prefectural assemblies. This brought about positive changes in these assemblies. Let us take a look at the case of Shizuoka, one of the seven prefectures.

In the Shizuoka prefectural assembly election in 2015, with the victory of JCP candidate Hiraga Takeshige, the JCP obtained a seat in the assembly after a four years’ absence. Although the party holds only one seat in the 69-member assembly, it has been playing a role in realizing residents’ demands, and breathing new life into the assembly.

Discussions in the assembly have become much more serious. When there was no JCP seat, proposed bills were approved as a package without deliberation on the last day of each assembly session. Since Hiraga was elected as an assembly member, discussions on bills have taken place. Sources say that the assembly is now closer to what it should be - a deliberative body.

In collaboration with popular movements outside the assembly, Hiraga has exerted influence over the assembly and the prefectural government.

He is the only assembly member opposing the reactivation of reactors at the Chubu Electric Power Company’s Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant in the prefecture and demanding the decommissioning of the NPP. Hiraga has supported civil movements opposing the reactivation and conveyed their demands to the assembly with 210,000 signatures collected by these anti-NPP activists. Pushed by residents’ demands, Governor Kawakatsu Heita, soon after his reelection in May 2017, said that during his term of office, he will not give consent to the restart of Hamaoka reactors in response to a request from the plant operator.

Furthermore, in cooperation with various civil organizations, Hiraga has urged the prefectural government to use tax money to meet citizens’ demands, such as better welfare programs and more financial support for small- and medium-sized enterprises. As a result, for example, the prefecture in October decided to provide its free medical care program to children up to 18 years of age. For the first time ever in 2017, the prefecture took budgetary measures for SME assistance, which had been long called for by local groups of the Democratic Commerce and Industry Organization (Minsho). The amount of money allocated to the measure was 100 million yen in 2017 and 200 million yen in 2018.

In addition, Hiraga has joined hands with local civil groups opposing the construction of an LNG-fueled thermal power station and JR Tokai’s plan to construct a maglev super express railway line. The power station project was cancelled. The railway construction has yet to start in the prefecture.

The JCP seeks to win more than one seat in the prefectural assembly election scheduled for spring next year in order to push the prefectural government to use its financial strength, which is 7th highest among 47 prefectures, to implement policies focusing on betterment of people’s livelihoods and welfare services, Shizuoka’s spending level on which is the lowest nationwide.

Past related articles:
> LDP-turned-JCP candidate wins city assembly election [January 24, 2017]
> Over 110,000 signatures for decommissioning of Hamaoka NPP submitted [January 24, 2012]
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