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Petition to recall election of Yokohama mayor falls well short of required signatures

The petition campaign by a residents group opposed to a Yokohama IR bid and aiming to recall the election of Mayor Fumiko Hayashi has failed to gather the required signatures for its recall campaign by the end of the campaign period.

The group spearheading the campaign is called “Recall Movement Starting with One Person.”

Hurdles to recalling an elected leader in Japan is particularly high, and even more so in areas with higher populations and more registered voters.

For Yokohama city, a majority of citizens must agree to a referendum to dismiss the mayor from her post with the group needing to collect 500,000 signatures in a period of two months. Such a feat is practically impossible in such a short timeframe.

The group started collecting signatures in October, reaching the 5 December cutoff date with  little more than 70,000 signatures.

A large recall campaign was held recently in Aichi to recall prefectural Governor Hideaki Omura, with the mayor of Nagoya, Takashi Kawamura and Katsuya Takasu, director of Takasu Clinic, playing leading roles. The recall movement caused a buzz with a high-profile mayor campaigning for a governor’s recall but with 870,000 signatures required to be successful, they only reached 430,000.

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