Governance and government of an enlarged municipality after municipal amalgamation : Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan

“Between 1999 and 2010, Japan’s national government began actively promoting the merger of smaller municipalities. In 2005 as part of this policy, Hamamatsu City, a major regional manufacturing center in central Japan, merged 11 smaller municipalities under the leadership of its mayor. The resultant municipality had a population of 818,000 and a total area of 1,558 km. In April 2007, Hamamatsu City also received the status of Ordinance-designated City, or the status of administratively top-ranked cities, from the national government. However, a new mayor was elected in April 2007 and started different governing policies.

To examine the government of a spatially large municipality after amalgamation, we got the data on its city governmental organizations and interviewed Hamamatsu City government officials as well as the community leaders of the neighborhood associations all over the city and distributed questionnaires to the residents of the city’s central and peripheral areas. To clarify Hamamatsu City’s governance, we also interviewed the leaders of community-based NPOs in the peripheral areas. The following are our findings:

  1. The new mayor changed the government by drastically reforming the administrative organization and reducing the city government branches in the former merged municipalities.
  2. Seeking a new government, some community leaders in central Hamamatsu prefer the new mayor’s plan called One City with One Municipal Administration, while community leaders in the merged municipalities prefer a return to the former mayor’s plan called One City with Multiple Administrations.
  3. People in the peripheral areas are strongly opposed to the government after the amalgamation and the new mayor’s methods.
  4. Seeking new governance, some people in the peripheral areas have established NPOs to begin restoring community activities and public service levels.”

Jun Nishihara, Shiro Fujii | 2018 | Political Science,