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Ishigaki City tinkers with local government system

Date Posted: 2009-12-24

Ishigaki City leaders aren’t exactly sure what they’ve done or how it’s going to work, but the southern island city has become the first of Okinawa’s 54 local municipalities to establish local government basic regulations.

The regulations were established by the City Assembly at its December 18th business meeting, the first step in a new system that shares basic rules with every citizen. It’s not a clear cut move, because only half the special committee’s members voted for the new system, and it hasn’t been approved by all City Assembly members, either.

Some are speculating Ishigaki City is using the new basic regulations system as a tool for February’s upcoming mayoral election. Ishigaki City has declared the city government basic regulation should be made by every citizen, working together and not only through the City Assembly members. The City Office staff has been researching the local government regulations, and met with regulation specialists to learn the details.

City Assembly members said to the mayor “we need to let citizens understand what the local government regulations are.” They’ve added “without understanding, there’s no meaning to the citizens.” City Office officials say, however, “No, we need to first get approval of the local regulations before the next election.” The confusion is leading various assembly members and city officials to wonder exactly how the system will work.

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