Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hokkaido mayor to stop lobbying lawmakers following DPJ victory

A mayor in Hokkaido said Wednesday he will break with a longstanding practice among many municipal leaders across Japan—going to Tokyo from time to time to ask Diet members to influence bureaucrats to work for the benefit of their communities—now that the Democratic Party of Japan has won the general election.

‘‘I will cooperate with the DPJ which pledged to conquer the bureaucracy-controlled government,’’ Junzo Ebisawa, mayor of Hokuto, told Kyodo News. ‘‘If I continue lobbying, it would cause trouble for lawmakers,’’ he said. Mayors and prefectural governors often visit Tokyo to lobby lawmakers elected from their areas to fulfill the requests of their municipalities, most typically directing public works projects to their areas.

Ebisawa said from now on he will change his approach by submitting written requests to the central government and ruling parties through an organization that he plans to set up jointly with the heads of neighboring municipalities.

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