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Osaka mayor blasted for neglect of duty while campaigning

Osaka mayor blasted for neglect of duty while campaigning

Posted December. 05, 2012 01:03,   


Mihariban, a civic group in Japan`s second-largest city of Osaka, on Monday made an audit request to the city government on Mayor Toru Hashimoto, claiming that he is being negligent over his duties for the sake of promoting election campaigns. It also asked that his pay be docked and the payment of further salary suspended.

A group source said, "Mayor Hashimoto violated municipal law that stipulates faithful execution of duty. He is abusing his power as mayor in street speeches."

Hashimoto then responded by posting on Twitter, "This incident symbolizes how elections and politics are being treated as a fool." This incident is hard to imagine in Korea, which university professors and mayors face harsh media criticism for neglecting their duties to help election campaigns.

Hashimoto has constantly received criticism for neglect of duty. Though elected mayor after pledging to upgrade Osaka to the status of a province, he failed to submit the ordinance plan for setting up a court negotiation committee last month citing his election schedule.

With public sentiment against him rising, he said, "Political power is necessary for Osaka to become province," adding, "If the law is revised so that I can join parliament as Osaka mayor, I will run for a House of Councilor seat."

Ichiro Matsui, head of the Kansai chapter of the ultranationalist Japan Restoration Party and a close aide to Hashimoto, said, "Hashimoto is a superman in that he can do (politics and public administration) at the same time."

Shintaro Ishihara, former Tokyo governor who is now the party`s leader, is also being criticized for having neglected his duty. His work schedule between November 2008 and October 2009 as obtained by the Japanese news magazine Syukan Gendai showed that he went to his office just two to three days a week for an average of 59 minutes each time. Yet Ishihara earned 24 million yen (292,647 U.S. dollars) in annual compensation, including bonuses. The report urged him to return the province`s tax money before worrying about administration afterwards.

Japan made an official announcement of its elections for the House of Representatives Tuesday, and began the 12-day election campaign ending Dec. 16, when the ballot box opens. More than 1,500 candidates from 12 parties have registered by the deadline Tuesday.

Given Japan`s territorial disputes with its Asian neighbors coupled with North Korea`s planned missile launch, the key election issue is Tokyo`s revision of its Peace Constitution.

The Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun said conflicts between forces supporting constitutional amendment and those wanting to protect it have faded, with those for amendment coming to the fore.

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan said the Japanese constitution should be vitalized but many of its members want an amendment. The media signaled upcoming discussion on the amendment in the next administration.