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Outline of the Japan Association of City Mayors
1. Name


Japan Association of City Mayors

2. Organization

 

Consists of 813 cities in Japan (as of January 1,2014)

3. History

 

1898: The Kansai Area Cities Coalition Association was established on May 18.
1906: It became a national organization as the National Cities Coalition Association.
1930: It was renamed the Japan Association of City Mayors.
1963: In accordance with revisions to the Local Government Act, it was registered with the Minister of Home Affairs
and has been operated as a national coalition organization of mayors up to the present.

4. Purpose and role

 

The Association's purpose is to promote liaison and coordination between cities across Japan, and to contribute to promotion and advancement of local autonomy by ensuring smooth operation and progress of the municipal administration. In order to improve the welfare of citizens and promote better urban development, the association not only promotes decentralization of government, but also conducts research studies and collects opinions on countermeasures against the issues and problems that all cities have in common and matters that a city alone can hardly solve.
The results must be announced as an opinion or proposal of the Japan Association of City Mayors to seek an understanding of related parties. Moreover, the association encourages the Diet and the central government to realize its resolutions and requests, and makes efforts to substantiate its assertions by making proposals and appeals.
For that purpose, a national meeting of city mayors (general meeting) is held in June every year, and board meetings are also held to make decisions of the Japan Association of City Mayors. Besides, the association strives to satisfy the demands of each city by conducting research studies in special committees, councils, study groups, etc.
The Japan Association of City Mayors participates in the "Forum for Policy Consultations between the Central and Local Governments" as a member to discuss policy issues regarding local autonomy, including role sharing between the central and local governments and local administrative and financial systems, with the central government from the planning stage, and to reflect the views of municipal governments closest to citizens.
With regard to laws, etc., which have an impact on local autonomy, the association is legally granted the right to offer opinions to the Cabinet or submit a written statement to the Diet.
Furthermore, there is an information provision system that enables each minister to give details about relevant measures so that six local government major organizations, including this association, can offer opinions to the Cabinet when local governments are required to undertake new clerical duties and burdens.

5. Operations

 

(1) Liaison and coordination of municipal administration
(2) Research studies on administration and finance
(3) Holding of seminars, workshops, etc.
(4) Publication and distribution of journals and other municipal administration-related books
(5) Matters regarding common interests of municipalities or municipal employees
(6) Implementation of projects necessary for the achievement of the association's purposes

6. Board members

 

President: 1 (2-year term)
Vice-president: 9 (1-year term)
Directors: 74 (1-year term)
Councilors: 164 (1-year term)
Auditors: 3 (1-year term)
District leaders: 9
In addition to the above, advisors, senior advisors and counselors may be appointed.

7. Meetings

 

(1) National meeting of city mayors (general meeting)
A decision-making body consisting of all city mayors, which is responsible for deliberating, deciding and approving important matters as the highest organ.
(2) Board of directors
An enforcement body, which is responsible for dealing with the affairs of the meeting and deliberating matters commissioned by the board of councilors.
(3) Board of councilors
A decision-making body, which is responsible for deliberating and deciding policies, passing budgets, and approving account settlements.
(4) Committees
Sectoral policy deliberation bodies, which consist of the following four committees based on the decision by the board of councilors:
① Administrative committees
Matters related to the local government system, the election system, urban promotion measures, the civil service system, etc.
② Finance committee
Matters related to local government finance, local tax system, public corporations, etc.
③ Social and educational committee
Matters related to administration of welfare, environment, education, etc.
④ Economic committee
Matters related to administration of land, transportation, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, economy, industry, etc.
(5) Special committees
Policy issue research bodies, consisting of 6 special committees, including the research committee on municipal tax systems, the special committee on national health insurance, and the special committee on municipal policy studies.
(6) Councils
Bodies dealing with issues in common with cities having specific features, which consist of 13 councils, including the hot springs location city council, the national base council, the national park-related city council, the port city council, and the marine city council.
(7) Study groups, etc.
Bodies conducting research studies on specific issues, which consist of 11 study groups etc., including the civil service system reform issue review conference, the study group on cities and tourism, the conference on livelihood assistance contributions, etc., and the conference on measures to secure doctors.

8. District and prefectural associations of city mayors

 

There are district associations in 9 districts in Japan (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Hokushin'etsu, Kanto, Tokai, Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu), which are engaged in liaison and coordination between cities in each district.
There are also prefectural associations of city mayors, which are engaged in liaison and coordination between cities in each prefecture.

9. Organizations related to the Japan Association of City Mayors

 

(1) Local autonomy establishment council
A coalition organization consisting of six local government organizations, aiming at promotion of local autonomy.
* What are the six local government organizations?
There are coalition organizations of governors and mayors who serve as the head of an enforcement body and those of chairpersons who serve as the head of a decision-making body, at each administration level of prefectural and municipal governments as local governments.
Specifically, there are three enforcement organizations, consisting of the National Governors' Association, the Japan Association of City Mayors, and the National Association of Towns and Villages, which are coalition organizations of heads of local governments, and three assembly organizations, consisting of the National Association of Chairpersons of Prefectural Assemblies, the National Association of Chairpersons of City Councils, and the National Association Chairmen of Town and Village Assemblies, which are coalition organizations of chairpersons of local assemblies. The above six organizations are collectively called the six local government organizations.
(2) Decentralization Policy Center for Cities
An organization established jointly by the Japan Association of City Mayors and the Japan Center for Cities in January 2007, with the aim of achieving true decentralization reform and enhancing city governments' functions of policy development and planning.

10. Secretariat office

 

(1) Address
Zenkokutoshikaikan Bldg. 4F., 2-4-2, Hirakawa-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 102-8635 Japan
(2) Organizational structure of the secretariat

 

    Planning and Coordination Department
    Matters related to general coordination and promotion of urban policies, overall management of important meetings, generalization of Diet affairs activities, etc.
Clerical duties of liaison and coordination with each ministry and agency and other organizations as well as with each district and prefectural association of city mayors
    General Affairs Department
Secretary-General
  Matters related to personnel affairs and salary, commendation, training programs, budgets and account settlements, and general affairs of various meetings
    Administrative Department
Deputy Secretary-General
  Matters related to local administration system, urban promotion measures, disaster prevention, and counseling on laws and regulations
Matters related to the civil service system and personnel management
    Finance Department
    Matters related to local finances, local tax systems and public corporations
    Social and Educational Department
    Matters related to public welfare, labor, environmental and educational administration
    Economic Department
    Matters related to land, transportation, agricultural, forestry, fishery, economic and industrial administration
    Research and Public Relations Department
    Matters related to research studies on urban policies, public relations, collection of data on municipal administration, external affairs, promotion of informatization, and the Japan Urban Problem Conference
    Mutual Insurance Department
    Matters related to personal mutual-aid pension, group term insurance, voluntary mutual-aid insurance, etc.
Matters related to liability insurance

 

Japan City Mayors' Foundation
Matters related to management and operations of the Zenkokutoshikaikan Building, publication of journals, etc.

11. Periodicals

 

A monthly magazine, "Municipal Administration", and the "Yearbook of Cities in Japan", are published jointly with the Japan City Mayors' Foundation.

12. Budgets

 

Expenses of the Japan Association of City Mayors are paid from each city's contribution.

 

Reference

 

○Overall conditions of cities in Japan

1. Number of local governments (as of January 1, 2013)
Prefectures: 47
Cities (including 23 special wards of Tokyo):812
Ordinance-designated cities: 20
Core cities: 41
Special cities: 40
General cities: 688
Special wards of Tokyo: 23
Towns and villages: 930

2. Population (as of March 31, 2011)
(1) Population in Japan: Approx. 126.92 million people
(2) Population in cities: Approx. 114.90 million people
(approx. 90.5% of the total)

3. Land area (as of October 1, 2011)
(1) Land area in Japan: Approx. 377,954.84 ㎢
(2) Land area in cities: Approx. 216,453.15 ㎢
(approx. 57.27% of the total, excluding unlocated districts)