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Discussions with six local-government associations

October 17, 2014

Toshimitsu Motegi

The Party's Regional Development Implementation and Management Headquarters (Chairperson: Takeo Kawamura, member of the House of Representatives) held a meeting on October 17 to exchange opinions with six local-government associations, including the National Governors' Association, National Association of Chairpersons of Prefectural Assemblies, and Japan Association of City Mayors.

The National Governors' Association made a number of proposals during the meeting, focusing on the tax system and population issues. In the area of taxation and fiscal spending, it advocated the following: the establishment of a new and more flexible system for sharing tax revenues that would strengthen the financial base and give local governments greater latitude in their activities; incentives for companies to relocate their head offices to outlying areas; measures to reduce the economic burdens on young people; and expansion of the hometown tax payment program. To stem the outflow of young people to the Greater Tokyo area, it proposed reductions in tuition for students matriculating to their local universities and a waiver of scholarship repayments for those accepting jobs at local companies. It also called for mechanisms to provide information on vacant houses to families that wish to relocate from urban areas, both to address the growing problem of vacant houses in outlying areas and to help families find suitable homes.

Chairperson Kawamura emphasized the significance of hearing from the six local-government associations who are actively involved in the issues affecting local communities, as the Party formulates policies and programs for regional development. At the end of the meeting, he said that "we have been able to share a sense of crisis over the decline in population."

The Headquarters is in the process of formulating an interim report. Hearings with small and medium-sized enterprises which provide jobs and support lives in local communities, and fact-finding tours to observe innovative local-led initiatives have been scheduled.

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