Recall in Japan as a Measure of Vertical Accountability
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Between 1947 and 2014, there were 1527 signature collections aiming to trigger a recall and 485 binding recall votes in Japan. There is even the option to recall public servants; however, in that case, parliament would have the final say. While recall activity was particularly strong right after World War II and during phases of major territorial reforms on the local level, recently there has been almost a complete halt of signature collections with the aim to trigger it. Out of the several hundreds of recall referendums, this chapter examines three cases in more detail: Maki 1996, Akune 2010, and Nagoya 2011. The chapter will thus shed some light on the lesser-known history, practice, functions and consequences of recall referendum procedures in the country. Recall activity dynamics over time are studied with the help of newly updated data based on original Japanese governmental sources.
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