February 17, 2012
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on February 16 at a news conference held in the Diet building made the following comment in regard to a survey questioning ideological beliefs of city employees imposed by Osaka City Mayor Hashimoto Toru:
Various people, including lawyers and union activists, are raising voices of concern in protest against the Osaka mayor’s survey asking city workers whether they have taken part in political activities or union activities.
In this regard, I want to highlight one very important fact.
In the survey, city employees had to state their involvement in activities supporting specific politicians over the past two years and disclose the names of people who asked them to participate in such activities. However, these people are not always workers of the Osaka City government.
The survey also requires employees to state whether or not they were asked to vote for specific politicians in elections in the past two years. Those who answered yes to the question must indicate the name of the person who made the request. Such a person may not necessarily be working for the city office. In other words, ordinary citizens can be named in the survey.
This survey requires Osaka City government workers to report the names of anyone who asks them to attend a politician’s street campaign speech or asked them to vote for specific politicians in the past two years.
What Hashimoto intends to do is to change the city government from one working for citizens’ welfare to one working in the capacity of secret police to monitor the political inclinations of residents. This is a serious challenge to democracy not only in Osaka but in Japan as a whole.
The JCP urges Hashimoto to stop the unconstitutional and illegal “ideological survey” without delay and discard the collected data immediately.
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Osaka Mayor says he will accept investigation into legality of belief survey
Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Toru said on February 16 that he would accept an investigation into legality of his controversial survey conducted regarding municipal workers’ political beliefs.
Asked by reporters for his comment on JCP Chair Shii’s criticism of the survey as “unconstitutional and illegal,” Hashimoto stated, “There are various institutions in Japan entitled to look into it (the survey he conducted). If it is found violating any laws or having any procedural irregularities, appropriate agencies will ask us to rectify it. We can proceed by making use of democratic rules.”
While he was unable to defend the legality of the survey at a press conference held in Tokyo, the Osaka Mayor defiantly said, “If we had to obtain agreement from all quarters, we would never be able to conduct a rigorous survey.”