NAGOYA – A civic group supporting Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura filed a petition Monday bearing more than 460,000 signatures, demanding a recall of the municipal assembly and setting the stage for a referendum on the legislature’s dissolution.
The move is the culmination of repeated clashes between Kawamura, a former Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker, and the assembly over proposals to cut the residential tax and halve assembly members’ pay.
Never has a city as large as Nagoya seen its assembly recalled through a referendum.
“The overwhelming consensus among people is that the assembly should start all over,” Kawamura told a press conference.
“If people stand up, they can change society,” he added. “This is the miracle of democracy.”
Toshiaki Yokoi, the assembly chairman, said the legislature “will continue to do its best to gain people’s trust.”
The collected signatures more than exceeded the 365,795 needed to initiate the recall process, according to the mayor’s group.
The referendum is now likely to be held sometime between December and January.
If the assembly is recalled, an election may be held between January and February to choose new members.
There is also a chance the assembly members may initiate their dissolution. If this happens, Kawamura would probably resign to pave the way for both mayoral and assembly elections at the same time.
Ever since assuming his post in April last year, Kawamura has clashed with the assembly over policies, including proposals to reduce residential taxes by 10 percent on a permanent basis and to halve the pay for assembly members.
Arguing that a recall of the assembly is the only way to achieve his campaign promises, Kawamura initiated the recall movement. His support group conducted a signature drive for about a month starting in late August.
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