Debates on local government reform are common to both the UK and Japan. While it has been argued that political power in both countries has become far too centralised, partnerships between local and central government have achieved significant results in particular spheres. This seminar will consider the role and structure of local government in both countries and will include case studies of regions in the UK and Japan where economic regeneration has been a positive force for change and collaboration. The speakers will address some of the key issues facing local authorities including municipal mergers in Japan and the establishment of unitary authorities in the UK.
About the contributors
Cllr John Shipley
Cllr John Shipley is Leader of Newcastle City Council. He represents Parklands Ward and was first elected as a Councillor in May 1975. He has been a member of the ten-strong Executive since the local elections in May 2004 when the Liberal Democrats became the majority party, and has chaired the Executive since May 2006 following his appointment as Leader of the Council. He represents the City Council on a number of outside bodies including the Northern Way Steering Group and English Core Cities, Tyne & Wear Development Co. Ltd Board of Directors and the Theatre Royal Trust Limited of which he is Chair. He was awarded an OBE in the 1995 New Year’s Honours List.
Shunsuke Mutai has recently been appointed Director of the Japan Local Government Centre. After graduating from Tokyo University in 1980, he joined the Ministry of Home Affairs (now the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications or MIC) where he has served in a number of postings, including Counselor for the Secretariat of the Prime Minister’s Committee for the Promotion of Decentralisation (2000), Director of the Local Public Finance Co-ordination Division, Local Public Finance Bureau (2006) and prior to his appointment in London as Counselor at the Minister’s Secretariat.
Mayumi Suzuki has been posted to London by Kanagawa Prefectural Government where she is Chief of the Industrial Vitalization Division in the Commerce, Industry and Labor Department. Since April 2007 she has been Representative of the Kanagawa Office at JETRO London where her duties include promoting foreign direct investment and sightseeing in Kanagawa, coordinating economic exchange between Kanagawa and European countries and supporting Kanagawa SM companies expand their business in Europe.
Cllr Richard Kemp
Cllr Richard Kemp (chair) has been a member of Liverpool City Council for 25 years. He has served as Chair of Housing, Education and Finance and was most recently the Executive Member for Housing, Neighbourhoods & Community safety. Richard is now the Deputy Chair and Leader of the Liberal Democrats at the Local Government Association where he leads on neighbourhoods, community and third sector issues. He also chairs a large housing association based in the North West and is on the Executive committee of the Union of Cities and Local Government – the World LGA.