The Daily Manila Shimbun


Depopulated Western Japan village studying shift to direct democracy

June 12, 2017

OKAWA, KOCHI PREF.- A village in Japan's Shikoku western region declared Monday that it has started considering scrapping its current assembly of elected representatives and shifting to direct democracy, since its tiny population may make it hard to maintain the local legislature.
"As there may be fewer candidates than the assembly's seats in the election in two years, I have ordered a study" on the possible replacement of the assembly with a general forum of eligible voters in the village as well as on ways to enable the assembly to be maintained, Kazuhito Wada, mayor of the Kochi Prefecture village of Okawa, said at an assembly session that started on the day.
He said that the village will find within this year the challenges linked to the establishment and management of the possible new system.
Japan's local autonomy act allows towns and villages to establish a general forum of voters, instead of an assembly of elected residents, so that residents can discuss municipal budgets and other issues directly. (Jiji Press)