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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 November 26 - December 2  > Heads of municipalities voice opposition to do-shu regional government system
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2008 November 26 - December 2 [POLITICS]

Heads of municipalities voice opposition to do-shu regional government system

November 27, 2008
The nation’s heads of towns and villages at their meeting in Tokyo on November 26 expressed opposition to the introduction of a do-shu regional government system that will replace the current 47 prefectures with a smaller number of regional administrative units.

National Association of Towns and Villages Chair Yamamoto Fumio (mayor of Soeda Town in Fukuoka Prefecture) said that the do-shu system will create local governments covering vast areas, further increasing the distance between residents and municipality.

Speaking to about 1,500 participants, mostly town and village mayors, Yamamoto stated that the system will lead to a centralization of power instead of decentralization. “We oppose the denial of diversity and of autonomy,” he said.

The meeting stressed that the national government-led mergers of municipalities have widened the gaps between urban and rural areas, and increased the number of municipalities suffering from financial difficulties. It adopted a resolution urging the government not to force municipalities to merge and to restore and increase tax revenues allocated to local governments.

Prime Minister Aso Taro in his speech said, “Local energies are sources of national energies.” He proudly said that his government “has established measures for the people’s living conditions in order to eliminate public anxieties about the future.” But participants in the meeting voiced criticism of the national government for cutting budgets for municipalities.
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