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Shogo Miyazaki, a defiant activist who led an unsuccessful movement to oppose the construction of a freight line through a quiet residential area of Yokohama in the 1960s and 70s, is still unconvinced about the utility of Japan’s electoral system.

The now defunct Japanese National Railways stressed the new line was needed to promote freight transport amid Japan’s economic boom and to alleviate commuter traffic in the metropolitan area. The Yokohama Municipal Government, led by liberal Mayor Ichio Asukata — who advocated democracy through “citizens’ participation” — also supported the project.

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