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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 October 24 - 30  > Anti-Abe government tide rising in local politics
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2018 October 24 - 30 [POLITICS]
column 

Anti-Abe government tide rising in local politics

October 24, 2018

Akahata ‘current’ column

British statesman James Bryce said that local autonomy is a "school of democracy". This famous saying by Bryce still holds true today. By taking part in and moving forward with local politics, residents can increase their awareness and experience as sovereigns. At the same time, local politics have a role in putting a brake on any maladministration of central government authorities.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect we could win. It’s a victory for citizens,” a supporter of Maekawa Hikaru said to a local paper after Maekawa was elected mayor of Kyoto’s Oyamazaki Town on October 21. Backed jointly by the Japanese Communist Party and a wide range of residents, Maekawa defeated the incumbent candidate who was supported by the Liberal Democratic Party and other parties. Looking back on voters’ actions during the election campaign, the incumbent’s campaign manager said that they were slack in their campaign efforts.

On the same day, in the mayoral election in Okinawa’s capital city of Naha, the “All Okinawa”-backed candidate Shiroma Mikiko defeated the LDP-backed rival by a large margin. This was the LDP’s third consecutive election defeat in the prefecture after the gubernatorial election in September. In the final stage of the mayoral election campaign it became increasingly clear that the odds were in favor of Shiroma and the Prime Minister’s Office and Soka Gakkai (the parent religious organization of the LDP’s coalition partner Komei Party) became less and less enthusiastic and effectively gave up on their candidate in the end. Such a coldhearted attitude corresponds with the Abe government’s stance towards local governments.

JCP Secretariat Head Koike Akira pointed out based on his experience of speech tours that major changes are emerging in various areas across Japan. In the ongoing campaign for the October 28 Niigata City mayoral election, Koyanagi Satoshi, 31, the joint candidate of opposition parties and concerned citizens, is waging a hotly contested battle against the LDP-backed candidate.

Distrust of and public anger against the Abe government are bubbling up throughout the country. Many citizens are taking action to put an end to the anti-people Abe government as well as to realize their demands. This is a rising tide which will most likely lead to a severe verdict against the Abe government in the simultaneous nationwide local elections and the House of Councilors election scheduled for next year.

Past related articles:
> JCP-backed candidate wins in Oyamazaki Town mayor race [October 23, 2018]
> 'All Okinawa' candidate wins reelection as Naha City mayor [October 22 & 23, 2018]

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