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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 June 6 - 12  > Residents choose as mayor JCP member who is calling for a change in use of tax money
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2007 June 6 - 12 [ELECTION]

Residents choose as mayor JCP member who is calling for a change in use of tax money

June 5, 2007
By receiving 3,309 more votes than an opposing candidate supported by the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties, Japanese Communist Party member Yoritaka Hideo won the mayoral election in Warabi City in Saitama Prefecture on June 3.

“I have no party preference. I always choose who to vote for based on their policies. I am impressed by Mr. Yoritaka’s policy of providing free medical care to children up to 15 years old and other policies in support of socially disadvantaged people,” a 76-year-old resident said.

Calls for new city policies

Residents’ wishes for a change from former mayor Tanaka Keiichi’s 32-year conservative city administration that has been in favor of large urban development projects gave Yoritaka the victory.

In the election, two major development projects that the city has been pushing ahead with in the area around JR Warabi Station were called into question.

The city has a plan to spend two billion yen of tax money to redevelop the area with a 30-story apartment building and another to spend eight billion yen to promote land readjustment that requires shop owners and residents in the area to move out.

While Yoritaka, a former JCP city assembly member, criticized these projects as a wasteful use of tax money, the opponent called for the implementation of the plans to use them as a trigger for business development.

Also debated was a series of planned increases in residents’ tax burdens, including national health insurance premiums, water bills, and charging a fee for garbage collection.

The election result showed residents’ clear support of Yoritaka who proposed the improvement of welfare programs to be called “Japan’s smallest city, Japan’s warmest city policy” as well as the withdrawals of the development plans and tax increases.

Failure of anti-JCP campaign

In the last mayoral election four years ago in which the conservatives failed to unite, Yoritaka lost by a margin of only 433 votes. This time, the conservatives put up a former city assembly member as their joint candidate in order to beat Yoritaka.

The opponent camp devoted their energies to anti-communist propaganda. LDP House of Representatives member Tanaka Ryosei led the anti-JCP campaign, shouting, “We must not let the JCP control the city!” A Komei Party city assembly member said, “As you see in the former Soviet Union, communist parties have already collapsed.” Shouting in the streets, “The Komei Party and Soka Gakkai (Komei’s parent religions organization) swear to make an all-out effort,” the Komei Party tried to fully exploit anti-communist sentiment.

In Warabi City, the LDP and the Komei Party received 5.5 times more votes than the JCP in the last House of Representatives election. Taking advantage of this balance of power, the conservatives intended to separate the JCP from a wide range of residents wishing for a change in the city policy.

On the morning of June 3, Yoritaka visited the city building to receive an election certificate. Surrounded by reporters, he said, “I am determined to run the city administration for the benefit of all Warabi residents regardless of their choice in the election.” - Akahata, June 5, 2007
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