Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly
|Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly
|Founded||January 1879 as Tōkyō-fukai
1943 as Tōkyō-to-gikai
April 17, 1947 (current local autonomy law)
Toshiaki Yoshino, Liberal Democratic Party
Since August 2013
Vice President (fuku-gichō)
Hajime Fujii, Kōmeitō
Since August 2013
|Seats||127 assembly members|
Metropolitan Government (3)ja)
Everyone's Reform (1)
Metropolitan Opposition (122)
Assembly DP (14)
A Tokyo That Can Take a Deep Breath (1)
|2013, 2016 (by-election)|
Its 127 members are elected every four years in 42 districts by single non-transferable vote. 23 electoral districts equal the Special wards of Tokyo, another 18 districts are made up by the cities, towns and villages in the Western part of the prefecture, one district consists of the outlying islands (Ogasawara and Izu Islands).
The assembly is responsible for enacting and amending prefectural ordinances, approving the budget (5.7 billion yen in fiscal 2007) and voting on important administrative appointments made by the governor including the vice governors.
Due to the special nature of the Tokyo Metropolis compared to other prefectures, the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly has certain powers that would usually fall into the responsibilities of municipal parliaments. This is to ensure efficient and unified urban administration for the 23 special wards that cover the former city of Tokyo and comprise the urban core of the Greater Tokyo Area.
The Tokyo prefectural election, 2013 took place on June 23, 2013. All 82 candidates nominated by the national-level ruling coalition of LDP and Kōmeitō were elected. The DPJ was reduced to fourth party, falling behind the Communists who picked up nine seats. Turnout was the second lowest in history at 43.5%, down from 54.5% in 2009.
As of August 2, 2016 the assembly was composed as follows:
|Composition of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly|
|Parliamentary group and
party majority of members come from (if any)
|Tōkyō-togikai jiyūminshutō ("Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Liberal Democratic Party")
Liberal Democratic Party of Japan
|Togikai Kōmeitō ("Metropolitan Assembly Komeito")
|Nihon kyōsantō Tōkyō-togikai giin-dan ("Japanese Communist Party Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly members group")
Japanese Communist Party
|Togikai Minshintō ("Metropolitan Assembly Democratic Party")
Democratic Party, former Democrats
|Minshintō togidan ("Democratic Party Metropolitan Assembly group")
Democratic Party, former JIP members
|Tomin fâsuto no kai ("Tokyo Metropolis residents first group")
Independents, former YP
|Togikai seikatusha nettowāku ("Metropolitan Assembly citizens/consumers network")
Tokyo Seikatsusha Network
|no parliamentary group [Shinkokyū no dekiru Tōkyō ("A Tokyo that can take a deep breath")]
|no parliamentary group [Tōkyō minna no kaikaku ("Everyone's reform Tokyo")]
|no parliamentary group: [Tōkyō ishin no kai ("Initiatives from Tokyo")]
Initiatives from Tokyo
Most electoral districts correspond to current municipalities, but several districts correspond to former counties (the counties, abolished as administrative unit in 1921, had initially by definition served as electoral districts for prefectural assemblies in the Empire), namely the West Tama (Nishi-Tama), North Tama (Kita-Tama) and South Tama (Minimi-Tama) counties. The towns and villages on the islands have never been subordinate to counties, but to four subprefectures that together form the islands electoral district.
|Special wards of Tokyo and Tokyo Islands||Western Tokyo/Tama area|
|Chiyoda||Chiyoda ward||1||Hachiōji||Hachiōji city||5|
|Chūō||Chūō ward||1||Tachikawa||Tachikawa city||2|
|Minato||Minato ward||2||Musashino||Musashino city||1|
|Shinjuku||Shinjuku ward||4||Mitaka||Mitaka city||2|
|Bunkyō||Bunkyō ward||2||Ōme||Ōme city||1|
|Taitō||Taitō ward||2||Fuchū||Fuchū city||2|
|Sumida||Sumida ward||3||Akishima||Akishima city||1|
|Kōtō||Kōtō ward||4||Machida||Machida city||3|
|Shinagawa||Shinagawa ward||4||Koganei||Koganei city||1|
|Meguro||Meguro ward||3||Kodaira||Kodaira city||2|
|Ōta||Ōta ward||8||Hino||Hino city||2|
|Setagaya||Setagaya ward||8||Nishitōkyō||Nishitōkyō city||2|
|Shibuya||Shibuya ward||2||Nishi-Tama (West Tama)||Fussa city
|Suginami||Suginami ward||6||Minami-Tama (South Tama)||Tama city
|Kita||Kita ward||4||Kita-Tama (North Tama) 1||Higashimurayama city
|Itabashi||Itabashi ward||5||Kita-Tama (North Tama) 2||Kokubunji city
|Adachi||Adachi ward||6||Kita-Tama (North Tama) 3||Chōfu city
|Edogawa||Edogawa ward||5||Kita-Tama (North Tama) 4||Kiyose city
On June 18, 2014, an assemblywoman Ayaka Shiomura was heckled in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly meeting. When she was making questions about how to save women who have a difficulty about pregnancy and childbirth, heckles and laugh occurred from the seats. Japanese media,various members of society both condemned and also excused the heckling, especially because of Shiomura's background. Many people against the heckling asked for people who make heckling to be identified. Media overseas, CNN, BBC, and so on, also criticized the heckling, and reported on the endemic sexism that made such a thing possible, while the Japanese media tended to present it as a one-time case of sexual harassment. On June 23, assembly member Akihiro Suzuki came forward, saying he was one of the people who heckled her and he made a formal, public apology. The fact that a member of the LDP ruling party apologized publicly (bowing deeply) was seen as very big deal. Other hecklers never came forward. On June 25, the assembly passed a resolution of aiming to restore the trust, and finish this problem.
Shiomura (35), a member of Your Party was a broadcast writer before she became a member of Your Party and she was a bikini model before she became a broadcast writer. When she was a bikini model, she appeared on Koi no karasawagi, a TV program (Nippon TV). Akihiro Suzuki (51) is first elected in Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election in 2007. In the Metropolitan Assembly, it has acted as the Committee on General Affairs vice chairman or the acting Liberal Democratic Party chairman of the Policy Research Council. Suzuki had hung up "a substantial aid for childcare" and "realization of the society in which women is very easy to work" contrary to the contents of heckling which he did to her. Moreover, Suzuki approved of the plan to purchase the Senkaku Islands (Ishigaki city, Okinawa) in August, 2012. For the purpose of investigation of the Senkaku Islands, he swam from the ship, while he had been allowed to, and he landed at Uoturijima island, and he was investigated by the Okinawa Prefectural Police on suspicion of a misdemeanor.
The hecklings with which assemblywoman Shiomura were bombarded are as follows; “Umenai no ka (Can’t you bare a baby?)”, “Kekkon shiro (Get married)”. The former assemblyman Suzuki stated, but it was not clear who stated the latter. Yōichi Masuzoe, the Governor of Tokyo Metropolis, and other member of the assembly were drawn in by the heckling and scornfully laughed. The public pay attentions to who made the heckling. Hecklings are variable; sometime a heckling encourage the speaker and another time it injures speaker just like this matter. There has been a thinking that heckling can give humor and make discussion smooth since past World War II. Thus, some people think of heckling as good. According to Morita Minoru, Japanese political commentator, points out that though heckling has been since past, political leaders get bad at heckling other members, and the number of vulgar heckles has increased (2014). There are various arguments on whether or not this is sexism. For example, Tabojin Toshio, who run for the latest Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election, said that he did not understand why this is sexism (2014).
In June 30, Shiomura submitted to Tokyo chairperson the requisition. The requisition say the person who heckled Shiomura should be punished, but the requisition was rejected because the man who heckled her was known. Therefore, Your Party (minna no to) planned to specify the man who heckled her by analyzing a voiceprintWhen Suzuki was asked about the relationship with heckling on June 20, Suzuki said “Bolt from the blue” denied the relationship with heckling completely. The Metropolitan-Assembly Liberal Democratic Party held the affiliation lawmaker's general meeting on the 23rd and at the afternoon press conference, Metropolitan-Assembly Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Osamu Yoshiwara said that the man who heckled Shiomura was Suzuki Akihiro, a member of the Metropolitan Assembly.
All of the female members of the metropolitan assembly demanded that such hooting should be legislated. Also, Your Party claimed that someone who made fun of Ms. Shiomura should be identified. More than 1000 protestations against the hooting were sent to the metropolitan assembly. On Twitter, BBS and so on, so many people mentioned the incident. Most of them radically criticized the sexist abuse. Not only in Japan but also in other countries, this problem has been focused on. For example, the Guardian, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal analyzed and criticized this sexist abuse.
This incident has influenced the Cabinet support rate. the support rate of Liberal Democratic Party, which is one of the major political party in Japan and has been in power since 2012, decreased. In contrast, the support rate for Your Party rose.
After the problem happened, politicians has refrained from hooting during discussion, for example, about the budget in the House of Representatives. Some people analyzed that the incident was likely to influence 2020 Summer Olympics.
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government: Chronological timetable
- MSN/Sankei News, August 8, 2013: [sankei.jp.msn.com/region/news/130808/tky13080821470008-n1.htm 東京都議会が臨時会開催 新議長に自民の吉野都議、副議長に公明の藤井都議を選出]
- KAGAYAKE Tokyo: 
- The Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2013: 自公圧勝、全員当選＝自民第１党奪還、民主第４党転落—２番目に低い投票率・都議選
- NHK: ２０１３東京都議会議員選挙開票速報
- http://www.gikai.metro.tokyo.jp/membership/political_party.html (Japanese)
- KAGAYAKE Tokyo: 
- Tokyo Electoral Commission: Prefectural electoral districts
- Togikaiyajimondai, domiru? (How should we view the heckling problem in the assembly?). (2014, July 1). The Page. Retrieved: http://thepage.jp/detail/20140701-00000022-wordleaf?pattern=1&utm_expid=72375470-9.7L_1IM1STXCrEXVl2y-WCA.1&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.co.jp%2F [July 17, 2014].
- Wada, H. (2014, June 25). Togikai: yaji makuhiki shiomuragīn ”hitotsu no kugiri. watashi ha watashide” (When the heckling problem come to an end, assemblywoman Shiomura said, “This is a break, and I will do what I can do.”). Mainichi shinbun. Retrieved: http://mainichi.jp/select/news/20140626k0000m040098000c.html [July 18, 2014].
- Togikai yaji hamon “Umenai no ka” “Kekkon shiro” (Heckling has a big impact “Can’t you bare a baby?” “Get married.”). (2014, June 20). Tokyo shinbun. Retrieved: http://web.archive.org/web/20140620225556/http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/politics/news/CK2014062002000140.html [July 18, 2014].
- Takeuti, Y. (2014, June 23). Togikai: “hin no nai yazi yokunai” itten mitometa suzukiakihiro togi (“Unrefined heckling is not good” Akihiro Suzuki Tokyo Metropolitan Government turned around and accepted the fact ). Mainiti Shinbun Newspaper. Retrieved: http://mainichi.jp/select/news/20140623k0000e040239000c.html [July 20, 2014]
- Kumano, S. (2014, July 15). Togikai de teireberuna yaji ga tobikau honshituteki na riyū (The fundamental reason why heckling occur in the assembly). Nikkei Business Online. Retrieved: http://business.nikkeibp.co.jp/article/interview/20140709/268411/?rt=nocnt [July 18, 2014].
- Sakamoto, S. (2014, June 26). Gikai ni yaji ha hitsuyo nano ka (Are hecklings necessary for the assembly). The Page. Retrieved: http://thepage.jp/detail/20140626-00000004-wordleaf?page=1&utm_expid=72375470-9.7L_1IM1STXCrEXVl2y-WCA.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fthepage.jp%2Fdetail%2F20140626-00000004-wordleaf%3Fpage%3D3 [July 18, 2014].
- Togikaiyagi ha zimintono suzukiakihiro giinn to hannmei (The man who heckled her are Akihiro Suzuki , a member of Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly.). (2014, June 23). Nippon Keizai Shinbun Newspaper. Retrieved; http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNASDG2302A_T20C14A6CC0000/ [July 20, 2014].
- Togikai sekuhara yaji mondai, kogi no netto shomei 40000ninni (The problem of the sexual harassment in the metropolitan assembly in Japan, 40000 signatures.). (2014, June 20). IT media News. Retrieved: http://www.itmedia.co.jp/news/articles/1406/20/news091.html [July 16, 2014].
- Goto, R. &Maeda, D. (2014, June 19). Josei togi he yaji, kougi 1000ken jimin hatsugensha tokutei senu ikou.(Hooting at a female member of the metropolitan assembly, 1000 protestions against it. Jimin Party will notidentify who said it.). Asahi Sinbun Digital. Retrieved: http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASG6M5HK9G6MUTIL031.html [July 16, 2014].
- Togikai yaji obei media ga hihan (Western countries criticized the problem of the sexual harassment in the metropolitan assembly in Japan.). (2014, June 22). NHK News Web. Retrieved:http://web.archive.org/web/20140624034740/http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20140622/k10015414131000.html [July 16, 2014].
- Shijiritsu teika “Anpo to sekuhara yaji ekyo” Kan kanbo chokan (The support rate has decreased “the right of collective self-defense and the problem of sexual harassment has influenced” Kan Chief Cabinet Secretary said.). (2014, July 9). Asahi Shinbun Digital. Retrieved: http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASG797GS2G79ULFA035.html [July 21, 2014].