Mr. Tomino Goes to City Hall: Grass-Roots Democracy in Zushi City, Japan
On 31 July 1992 Mayor Tomino Kiichiro of the city of Zushi announced that he would not seek reelection in the November mayoral election. Since he was first elected mayor in November 1984, Tomino has been the most visible and blunt spokesman for a group of Zushi citizens seeking to halt the Japanese central government's plan to construct housing for u.S. navy personnel on the site of the former Ikego Ammunition Dump, a pristine tract of land in Zushi known to citizens there as the Ikego Forest. Zushi is about forty-five kilometers southwest of central Tokyo and six kilometers west of the massive U.S. naval base at Yokosuka. The Ikego Forest, 290 hectares of rolling hills, is one of the last patches of greenery in the urban sprawl around Tokyo. The citizens' movement to stop the Ikego Housing Project has attracted significant mass media attention since its inception in the fall of 1982 and has become one of the symbols of the growing environmental movement in Japan.