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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 November 7 - 13  > JCP member elected mayor of Nagano Prefecture’s Minamimaki Village
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2007 November 7 - 13 [JCP]

JCP member elected mayor of Nagano Prefecture’s Minamimaki Village

November 13, 2007
A former Japanese Communist Party local assembly member defeated the incumbent mayor in an election on November 11 in Minamimaki Village in Nagano Prefecture.

In the village with about 2,700 eligible voters, Kikuchi Yukihiko, 65, received 430 more votes than his opponent. Two residents’ associations, including one which the JCP branch takes part in, helped him garner support from a broad spectrum of local residents.

In a victory speech Kikuchi said, “This is a victory of villagers’ conscience. I will strive to fulfill my election platform through developing dialogues with them.”

The former mayor pushed ahead with a merger with neighboring Kawakami Village, a consolidation of two elementary schools in the village, and public works projects including the construction of a 300-million yen resident center in defiance of public opposition. In the referendum on the municipality merger, 87 percent of voters said “No” to the plan.

In his election campaign, Kikuchi took up residents’ growing criticism of the former mayor’s undemocratic policies and called for a system to reflect villagers’ needs in the local administration.

The new mayor, who is also a farmer, shoulders villagers’ high expectations for agriculture revitalization in Minamimaki Village, where half of the households are family farmers growing vegetables or engaged in dairy farming.

“Farming villages are dying,” said Kikuchi Hiroshi, a former executive of the local agricultural cooperative. He said that due to the government policy of opening the Japanese market to foreign produce, the sales of domestic produce remains sluggish. He also said that farmers are hard hit by rising oil prices that make production costs even higher.

Kikuchi Hiroshi said, “Although it is hard for the village to directly provide relief measures for farmers, I expect that the new mayor will criticize the Liberal Democratic Party’s cold-hearted policy of forcing of farmers to abandon farming.

A native of Minamimaki Village, the new mayor campaigned in the previous mayoral election four years ago after serving as a village assembly member for three terms, or eight years and six months. This time around, he increased his votes by 400 from the previous election.

Kikuchi Yukihiko is the third JCP municipal head in Nagano and the ninth in the country. - Akahata, November 13, 2007
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