Shiga Prefectural Government is struggling to grow out of being an "exploiter."

Shiga Prefectural Government has unveiled that its 10 employees were engaged in more than 1,000-hour overtime work in FY 2016. Although the number has been reduced by half compared to the previous year which recorded 20 employees, chronic overtime work can still be seen among the Shiga officials. The Prefectural Government is making efforts to reduce it by 15% in FY 2017.

According to Personnel Division, there were 3 officials of Recycling Society Promotion Division whose overtime work exceeded 1,000 hours in FY 2016 because of an influx of workload to renew licenses regarding waste disposal. Two divisions - Child and Youth Affairs Bureau and Tourism and International Exchange Bureau - followed suit with 2 officials respectively. Financial Administration Division, the most “notorious” division in FY 2105 with 9 officials, had only 1 the following fiscal year. Hikone Family Consulting Center, which had 3 officials in FY 2015, didn’t have anyone engaged in more than 1,000-hour excessive work. 

The Prefectural Government has taken an emergency countermeasure to control overtime work since February this year, successfully reducing it in February and March by 20% compared to the previous year.

The Prefectural Government is in the process of formulating an action plan to cut overtime work per person by 15% this fiscal year, considering that the current measures already implemented are not effective enough. According to the plan, to be implemented are new measures: outsourcing administrative processes, enhancing standardization of business control, and introducing voice recognition software to take the minutes.

(May 27, 2017, Kyoto Shimbun)



Election: 1.12 million voters registered in Shiga

The Shiga Election Administration Commission announced that Shiga has 1.12 million registered voters as of June 25, which has increased by 13,493 since 2010 when the last gubernatorial election was held.

The number of male voters are 547,169, having increased by 6,425. On the other hand, the number of female voters are 575,341, having increased by 7,068.

By municipality, ten cities and towns are on the increase; the registered electorate in Otsu and Kusatsu have augmented by 6,129 and 5,368 respectively. Meanwhile, nine cities and towns are on the decrease; the electorate in Nagahama and Takashima have dropped by 1,475 and 1,049 respectively.

The upcoming gubernatorial election is going to be held on July 13.

(Kyoto Shimbun, June 25, 2014)



Former government official to run for the upcoming gubernatorial election

A 47-year-old former government official unveiled his intention to run for the upcoming gubernatorial election in July. Takashi Koyari, who is a former Director, the General Secretariat for Japan's Economic Revival, Cabinet Secretariat, held a press conference at the Shiga Prefectural Office on March 4, underscoring the need to "restart" Shiga by invigorating his home-prefecture.

Koyari is expected to be supported by the Shiga Branch of Liberal Democratic Party and is the first candidate who has officially announced for governor. Japan Communist Party is also seeking its own candidate, and the incumbent Governor Kada hasn't been clear about the election yet.

(Jiji Press, March 4, 2014)



An exit poll in Shiga: The anti-nuclear policy was less important in Lower House election

There were various important issues discussed in the recent House of Representatives election. Of those issues, the anti-nuclear policy drew attention among citizens, most of whom believe the nuclear power plants should be shut down immediately or in the future. However, candidates who didn't support the policy gained votes to a certain degree. Chunichi Shimbun conducted an exit poll in District 1, Shiga, and it shows that the nuclear policy wasn't necessarily a key issue determining the outcome of the election.

On December 16, the election day, Chunichi Shimbun conducted the survey asking 1,430 voters in the district about their voting behavior. Almost 70% of the respondents answered that they would support the discontinuance of nuclear power plants. Of those voters, 490 people voted for Tatsuo Kawabata of Democratic Party of Japan, who goes for the discontinuance realized by the end of 2030s, and 470 voted for Toshitaka Ooka of Liberal Democratic Party, who agrees to reduce the number of nuclear power plants but is skeptical about shutting down all of them.

After all, policies deeply related to people's daily lives drew more attention. 30.6% of the respondents chose the economy as their priority, the 13% chose tax burden, and the 14.4% chose social welfare. Only the 9.9% chose the nuclear power plant policy.

(Chunichi Shimbun, December 18, 2013)



Prefectural Assembly criticizes Governor for having become the leader of a political party

The Prefectural Assembly's general meeting was held on December 3, and interpellations against Governor Kada, who recently formed the Tomorrow Party of Japan, were made by representatives of the political parties.

Of those representatives, Haruo Miura, member from a faction associated with the Liberal Democratic Party, expressed his doubt that Governor's decision might have a negative impact on the Prefecture, saying "I can't wipe out my concerns if Governor continues holding two posts." In answer to the query, Governor Kada reaffirmed her commitment to the prefecture. "I want to reform state politics from the point of view of a prefectural government.

On November 30, Governor cancelled attending a meeting to talk about anti-bullying measures. Instead, she participated in a debate between party leaders, which was held in Tokyo, and met with Ichiro Ozawa, a political figure who joined the new party. On December 4, she will hit the national campaign trail starting from Fukushima. Takanori Sano, chairperson of Prefectural Assembly, commented that Governor should resign if she carries on her mission as head of the party.

Kada told reporters that she would perform her duties as governor. She, however, avoided talking about keeping office until the end of her term in 2014.

(Nihon Keizai Shimbun, December 4, 2012)



Incumbent Yasu mayor was reelected without voting

Campaigning for the mayorial election of Yasu City was permitted to start on October 7. The incumbent mayor Yoshiaki Yamanaka, however, was the only candidate running for the position, and was reelected without voting.

When the 61-year-old mayor was notified at his office at 5:00 p.m. that there were no competitors running against him, his supporters, including Shiga-based statesmen and Governor Kada, congratulated him, clapping their hands. 

"This result wouldn't have been achieved if I hadn't gained support largely from citizens, city council members, and various organizations," says Yamanaka. "I will tackle challenges to construct Waste Treatment Facility as well as Disaster Control Center. My goal is to create a city where everyone feels comfortable and relieved, by developing culture, sports, and landscape."

(Chunichi Shimbun, October 8, 2012)



Hino: Mayor Fujisawa was reelected

Hino's mayorial election was held on July 1, and the incumbent mayor Naohiro Fujisawa won a victory over the independent candidate Seiichiro Horie, a former town assembly member.

The election was fought over the incumbent mayor's policies including administrative reforms and stimulus projects to revitalize the aging town. The 56-year-old mayor underscored his achievement in the past 8 years, referring to the provision of school meals at Hino Junior High School as well as the act of fiscal reconstruction.

The 61-year-old rival candidate Horie, largely supported by several political parties such as Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito, was unable to win the stiff election battle, being too late to utilize his political resources due to his late decision to run for the town's highest seat - the decision was made only two weeks before the election day. 

(Kyoto Shimbun, July 2, 2012)



Otsu Mayor Mekata seeks 3rd term

At a city council meeting on November 29, Otsu Mayor Makoto Mekata officially unveiled his plan to run for the upcoming mayoral election on January 22, 2012.

Mekata was elected in 2004, and now is in the second term.

The 70-year-old incumbent mayor who seeks the third term as an independent says, "I want to face the third term, giving a finishing touch to my mayoralty."

There are two other candidates who have already expressed their desire to run for the election: Naomi Koshi, an attorney supported by Democratic Party of Japan and Social Democratic Party, and Masako Higashi, a doctor supported by Japan Communist Party.

(Kyoto Shimbun, November 29, 2011)

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Shiga Governor's private home violates the Construction Standard Act

It turned out on July 13 that Shiga Governor Yukiko Kada's private home was illegally built violating the Construction Standard Act. The building owned by the governor is located at the foot of Mt. Hiei in Otsu. The City Office has started examining the possibility of whether it should be removed or not.

In regard to this issue, a 69-year-old owner of small business sent the prefectural government an open letter asking the governor to respond. According to the man, the one-story building with a barn was constructed in 1981, and was bought by the governor in 1990.

The Otsu City Office says that the building is located in a restricted area where a building certificate is required when constructing a new building. "It's obvious that the building violates the act, and we are now examining the possibility of removing it," says Yoshitsugu Yokoe, an official of the city's Building and Housing Guidance Division.

No comments on this issue have been made by the governor because she is out of town going on a business trip to Akita Prefecture. 

(Sankei Shimbun, July 13, 2011)

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Shiga Prefecture will reduce the number of Vice-Governors

On July 7, the Shiga Prefectural Government announced that Takashi Arakawa will succeed Koichiro Yoneda who is supposed to step down from the position of one of the two Vice-Governors. Arakawa is currently a director of Fire Defense Agency.

The other Vice-Governor Uichiro Taguchi will retire too, but he won't be replaced by anyone. In other words, the prefecture will reduce the number of the vice-governors from two to one. This proposal will be discussed at a session of the Prefectural Assembly.

"Considering the current circumstances requiring administrative reform, someone like Mr. Arakawa, who is familiar with both national and local administration, is needed," says an official of the prefecture.

The Liberal Democratic Party, considered to be an opposition party against Governor Kada, is likely to approve it because the party has insisted on reducing the number of Vice-Governors. The new Vice-Governor will be appointed on July 26 after the two Vice-Governors leave office on July 25.

(Kyoto Shimbun, July 7, 2011)

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