This is the assembly's third attempt, and this time all 8 assemblymen voted yes to demand Mayor Idogawa to step down.
Why? Because the mayor refuses to "move forward".
What's "moving forward" for the town which had to relocate to Saitama temporarily because of severe contamination from the nuclear accident?
Talking with the national government "constructively" to build intermediate storage facilities for nuclear waste in Futaba-machi, for a start. The first step will be to agree to the field survey by the national government.
The town may have no choice, but what these assemblymen are after seems to be more about money, a huge wad of money from the national government in exchange for simply agreeing to start talking.
Just change "intermediate storage facilities" with "nuclear reactors". It's the same old story. Simply agreeing to the survey will probably produce a ton of money for the town. Of all people, Mayor Idogawa should know very well.
Mr. Idogawa has been tirelessly campaigning for the people of his town, a changed man after the nuclear accident. Inconvenient for the town assembly, obviously.
For his account on March 11, 2011 as he experienced, see my post from February.
From Kyodo News (12/20/2012):
Futaba-machi town assembly passes the no-confidence resolution against the mayor because he skipped the negotiation for intermediate storage facilities
The December Assembly of Futaba-machi, Fukushima Prefecture was held on December 20 in Kazo City in Saitama Prefecture where the town's government has been temporarily moved. Futaba-machi in Fukushima is one of the locations where the national government wants to conduct the feasibility study for building intermediate storage facilities to store contaminated soil from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident. The no-confidence resolution against Mayor Katsutaka Idogawa was unanimously passed by all eight assemblymen.
Unless the mayor dissolves the assembly within 10 days, according to the Local Autonomy Law, he will lose his job.
Mayor Idogawa said to the reporters, "I would like to sort things out quietly. I will decide over the weekend."
The resolution criticized the mayor for having skipped the negotiation in November whereby Governor of Fukushima Yuhei Sato and other seven mayors of municipalities in Futaba County agreed to the survey [for waste storage facilities].
Mayor Idogawa, in his December 20 letter to the town residents, explains why he refused to sit down with the fellow mayors and the governor of Fukushima:
As to the intermediate storage facility, we are told to accept without any discussion because it's only the field survey for now. But how will this survey be paid for? This facility is supposed to be there for only 30 years, but there is no formal agreement on that between the national government and us. No one can live near this facility. No one lives inside the 2 kilometer radius of Rokkasho-mura [where the Reprocessing Plant is located]. The 2 kilometer radius would include almost all central Futaba. What should we do then? That discussion should come before anything else. To conduct the boring survey means the start of construction. If we look at the budget [for the intermediate storage facility] there is a line item called "survey cost" under "development". As far as the administrative decision goes, this is the start of construction. Please understand that I've been trying my best to stall [the survey] so as not to give the government the fait accompli of construction started.
It should proceed after ample discussion and understanding of all the town residents. This is the first ever such project in Japan. It is the greatest loss for the town, and if we just let it proceed without any firm promise, our children will suffer. I would like to talk patiently with the new administration, and proceed so that our children would understand. Please know that we have suffered a great loss.
Earlier in his letter, he pleads with the residents to think about their "loss", that it's not just about the loss of tangible assets like real estate but intangible assets like health and future prospect.
His words clearly fell on deaf ears of eight assemblymen who see very tangible assets (money) in front of them.
Mayor Idogawa sees the details, and knows the process. So, they'd rather shut him up, and join others in pointing the bright sky on the horizon - "Look, that's the future..."
I wonder if he dissolves the assembly and calls the election. I doubt it.
It's a new Japan - Japan that cannot focus its attention long enough to think things through and simply latches on to soundbites. I guess that has been the global trend, but Japan manages to do it in the middle of the most severe nuclear accident in the country that has contaminated wide areas in Tohoku and Kanto.