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Parliamentary Interpellation of a bill before the Kobe City Council,
by Councilman Toshihiko Yasui.

Chairperson (Mr. Katsuhiko Nakamura: "Next, Number 59, Mr. Toshihiko Yasui."
(Councilman #59, Mr. Toshihiko Yasui comes to the platform to the members applause and begins to speak:)

"I will begin interpellation of the bill before us on the Decentralization of Power.

In the recent 40th election, for the first time in 38 years, the seat of political power changed to the joint administration of Hosokawa, from administration of the Liberal-Democratic Party.

This shift marks the greatest change in Japanese politics since World War II.

You can think of the foundation of these changes as three steel angles:

  1. Efficient use of a centralized bureaucracy by diligent people. This was supported by
  2. the Liberal Democratic Party, and
  3. Economic cycles which worked together to successfully build Japan to today's level of success.

However, today people are criticizing corruption within the Liberal Democratic Party. At this time, people are driving a wedge between these three steel angles. [Centralized power and some corruption] may have been acceptable when Japan was developing, but people today require a "much closer control of their politics" and expect "discussions to be held with citizens and their wishes closely followed." Judgement is made on how well this is done.

This has been my constant thought ever since I joined the local assembly. The central bureaucracy could have continued to work as an excellent public servant for Japan's reconstruction. Instead they gained more and more authority. At length this led to a corpulent system, where authorities seek to gain from ministries and government offices. This extends into regulation and service areas � so that, if even a little of their power is reduced, it is a big threat to them.

For example, during a large outcry for decentralization of power, the Management and Coordination Agency, (March 1992), published that an additional 225 regulations and requirements had been added to burden our businesses in only one year. There were 10,942 such rules!

Moreover, there are now many more businesses since 1988. Additional rules and businesses causes the bureaucratic system to grow so huge and powerful that it is training elected politicians to answer to them instead of their voters. This causes a problem to the government's separation of powers (Administrative, Legislative, and Judicial branches.)

Indeed, to address this situation, the government formed the "Rincho" (Temporary Administrative Reform Council) to reconsider the bureaucratic system. Their first three reports were, 4 July 1991, 12 December 1991, and 19 June 1992. Rincho made a fine report. On the local side, the entire ordinance introduced specific requirements from Kobe's mayor down to each for each ministry or bureau in the city.

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Toshihiko Yasui
OFFICE: 2-15-27 Mikage-honmachi, Higashinada, Kobe, Hyogo 658-0048 JAPAN
E-mail yasui@yasui.net
Voice 81-78-842-3020 FAX 81-78-841-3090

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