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Central Japan city mayor demands resignation of governor of his own prefecture

Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura, left, submits a petition asking the Aichi Prefectural Assembly to vote on a resolution calling for the resignation of Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura, at the prefectural assembly building in Nagoya, on Sept. 25, 2020. (Mainichi/Masakatsu Oka)

NAGOYA -- Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura on Sept. 25 submitted a petition to the Aichi Prefectural Assembly demanding that the local legislature vote on a resolution calling for the resignation of Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura over a controversial art exhibit that took place in the central Japan city in 2019.

    Kawamura claims that Omura is "unfit to serve as governor" after the organizing committee for the Aichi Triennale international art festival headed by Omura sued the city of Nagoya over expenses Aichi Prefecture's capital city was committed to covering.

    The Nagoya Municipal Government deemed some content of the "After 'Freedom of Expression?'" exhibit at the art festival problematic and refused to pay 33 million yen (about $312,600) of some 171 million yen that the city was supposed to pitch in for the festival. The organizing committee filed a lawsuit in May this year demanding that the city pay the outstanding amount.

    In the petition, Mayor Kawamura criticized Gov. Omura, stating that Omura's management of the committee "goes against democracy."

    Asked about the petition, Gov. Omura commented, "I have to say this is ridiculous. It's extremely unfortunate to think that this is the only thing he (Mayor Kawamura) is doing when we're putting all our efforts in coronavirus measures. I cannot help but think he's a pathetic man."

    The exhibit on the theme of censorship sparked controversy as it included pieces such as a statue of a girl symbolizing wartime "comfort women." It was canceled during the festival following complaints and a terrorist threat, but later resumed.

    (Japanese original by Masakatsu Oka, Nagoya News Center)

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