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Voters uncertain in upcoming election

Date Posted: 2006-10-07

Uruma City is only 19 months old, but is experiencing financial growing pains.

Those pains will be resolved at an upcoming Assembly election, but voters arenít sure exactly who they should vote for. Uruma City was founded by consolidation of Gushikawa, Ishikawa, Katsuren and Yonashiro last year, but many residents of the four communities still havenít found an identity.

Financially, the city is hurting because it has too many public officials. There are 86 assemblymen for a new city that requires only 34. The Trinity Reform Program instituted by then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi mandated financial changes at the local level to reduce taxpayer costs. Slashing 56 assemblyman positions will save Uruma City •240,000,000 each year, but the politicians donít want to give up their jobs. The positions pay, on average, •6,000,000 salary each year.

At the same time, voters donít know who to pick for the 34 positions, because most communities within the new city still think of themselves as from ďmy town Gushikawa, my town Ishikawa, or no, no, my town Katsuren.Ē It will take about 1,000 votes to win a position, but some such as Katsuren and Yonashiro will only be able to rally about 300-400 votes.

Biggest vote numbers are expected from the former Gushikawa City, causing some to say ďif the winners are from only the Gushikawa area, it is very bad. New winners donít care about the smaller areas.Ē That worries some people, and has caused a public outcry.

Some candidates are moving to the Gushikawa area in an effort to become better known. In other cases, politicians are turning to relatives to turn out in large numbers to vote for them.

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