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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 15 - 21  > Doubling of JCP seats dramatically change corrupt city assembly in Toyama
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2017 March 15 - 21 [JCP]

Doubling of JCP seats dramatically change corrupt city assembly in Toyama

March 16, 2017
A city assembly in Toyama Prefecture which was tainted with scandals over the illegal use of political allowances has been changing significantly due to efforts made by Japanese Communist Party assemblypersons.

In 2016, 13 out of the 40 members of the Toyama City Assembly resigned over the illegal receipt of political affairs allowances. The JCP, which had taken the lead in pursuing the wrongdoings, fielded two candidates in the city assembly by-election held in November. The two won seats, and the number of JCP members in the city assembly doubled to four. With that, the JCP obtained the right to introduce bills.

During the city assembly’s first session following the by-election, a bill to revoke the ordinance to raise monthly salaries paid to city assembly members by 100,000 yen in April 2017 was approved by a majority vote. That bill, originally drawn up by the JCP, was jointly submitted to the assembly by six political groups, including the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties. Only six months before, the LDP and Komei rammed through the pay raise ordinance in defiance of the strong opposition from many citizens and the JCP.

After the by-election, the city assembly set up a subcommittee to review the political affairs allowance program, and a JCP legislator became a member. As a result of discussions at the subcommittee, the assembly tightened the rules on the use of allowances and obliged each political group to disclose its income and expenditure report on the Internet.

Due to the JCP initiative, the assembly also decided to abolish the system to grant a daily allowance of 4,000 yen to legislators each time they sit in the assembly, place a ban on overseas inspections in principle, and broadcast committee meetings via cable TV and the Internet.

In March 2017, the city government created a program to provide free medical services to children aged 15 and under, which the JCP and civic groups had demanded for a quarter of a century. In January, all political groups jointly petitioned the city mayor to launch the program. The mayor then expressed his intent to take necessary budgetary measures in response to their request.

Local JCP members and supporters are now campaigning to secure all four seats in the city assembly election slated for April.

Past related article:
> JCP doubles its seats in scandal-rocked Toyama City Assembly [November 8, 2016]
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